Boy, have I had a busy week! What with teaching the new guy how to do all my crappy projects, parsing the news for my friends, and re-netting the trampoline, phew! And OH, YEAH.... I invented something and this time it's actually useful! As an aside, I did not have a category labeled 'brilliant' until today. I regret the oversight.
I'm a little bit of a levee geek, I bet you didn't know that. It's because I hide it well and never, ever wear a plaid shirt. You also may not know that levee vegetation is a very complicated and political issue, and it's especially difficult here in the Pacific Northwest where we have multiple species of salmon on the Endangered Species list. The fish people demand trees and shrubs, because that's better for the fish, and the levee people demand lots of bare rock and grassed slopes, because that makes safer, stronger levees. Trees and shrubs are sub-optimal for levees because the roots can tear them up and falling trees can gouge out big holes. Overgrown vegetation also impedes inspection and encourages colonization by burrowing creatures. Both the fish people and the levee people have excellent points, and the law on their side. This leaves people who need to build or repair flood control structures in a very difficult position, between a rock and a hard fish, you might say. If you are someone who makes bad puns, that is. Which I am. And right now I am one of these unfortunate people who has competing Federal mandates to produce a project with no vegetation in the levee structure AND with plenty of plants to shade the fishies.
Behold, I give you the Dead Cat Vegemattress! It's essentially a mattress of vegetation that's designed to break away in a flood without damaging the levee structure itself. As you can clearly see from my not-to-scale drawing, a layer of non-permeable geotextile fabric, possibly combined with a layer of chain link fencing, protects the levee prism and rock face from the roots of the plantings and burrowing animals. A hefty lift of soil placed on the fabric provides plenty of room for lots of whatever plants the fish people want, and everybody wins!
You probably know I have been frustrated in the past by people stealing my brilliant ideas. The breastmilk factory, the diapers that look like clothes and the clothes that have drinking pockets spring immediately to mind. Not this time, though! You heard it here first: I invented the vegemattress (vegemat for short) today, September 15, 2011.