A series of 10 workshops were held across the state in 2008 and 2009 to introduce local governments and other interested parties to the California Department of Transportation Compost-based Specifications, which can be adopted for municipal use. The specifications were developed in 2006 by the California Integrated Waste Management Board (now known as the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery), in partnership with the Caltrans Headquarters Landscape Architecture Program.

Similar workshops were held in 2006 and 2007 to introduce the specifications to Caltrans staff. The workshops featured practical tools and information on using compost for erosion control and re-vegetation and stressed the importance of using quality compost tested under the United States Composting Council’s Seal of Testing Assurance program.

CalRecycle also contracted with the University of California, Riverside through an interagency agreement to conduct two compost projects to demonstrate the effectiveness of compost-based applications for erosion control in order to increase procurement of compost. One of the projects demonstrates compost-use for reducing erosion by remediating fire-damaged soils and the other demonstrates compost-use for reducing erosion by remediating construction-damaged soils. The report for these two projects, Compost Best Management Practices and Benefits was published in May 2011.

Workshop attendees received the Compost Use for Landscape and Environmental Enhancement Manual co-authored by Dr. David Crohn with the University of California, Riverside, and Janet Hartin with University of California Cooperative Extension.

Below is information on the workshop content and participants as well as links to a video and presentations:


Topics covered included:

  • Reducing disposal by increasing compost use.
  • Compost biology and core principals.
  • The benefits of compost for roadside and landscape applications, including reduced runoff, improved infiltration, improved erosion control, and improved vegetation establishment.
  • Ensuring compost quality by using the U.S. Composting Council's Seal of Testing Assurance Program, the national compost quality and labeling program.
  • Implementing the Caltrans Compost-based Specifications on a municipal level.
  • Cost savings with compost use.
  • Compost research for landscape applications.
  • Compost-use case studies.
  • Developing model ordinances and purchasing policies for compost use.
  • The Department of Water Resources’ Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance.


Stakeholders included:

  • Local governments.
  • Caltrans and local landscape architects and contractors.
  • Researchers.
  • Compost and waste management industry professionals.
  • Local, regional, State and federal regulatory agencies.