As this thred is several years old, I realize that I am not likely posting for the benefit of those who started it but rather for those who come across it later. As the original poster is in the pacific northwest there is a potential resource asset that is workably close if for no other reason than education. The original poster has raised issues associated with soil stability on slopes and around ponds which are particularly relevent to the resource I have in mind. That is
Bamboo Garden Nursery
The site is not only a place to buy various bamboo varieties but also a vast source of information on varieties and the growing of bamboo. Because the original poster has concerns for soil stability it is worth noting that bamboo grows a powerful mesh/mat of roots idealy suited for land stabilization. And one of the themes in this strip is about stability of dams and ponds. some varieties of bamboo are specifically used for just that purpose, Confusion of bamboo with water loving reeds is not justified as most (all?) bamboos will not invade water as submersion of the roots in water kills bamboo. It is used to stabilize earthen dams for just that reason, it will not invade the water and unlike trees it will not drive a root through the dam to make a leak. The bamboo grows with a massive root mat that is basically shallow rooted and ties the earth together. This particularly true of running bamboos which will elnarge their groves vigorously, but with a minimum of planning and knowledge are easily controlled without extensive labor. they also make wonderful forage for grazing and browsing livestock (you may have to fence out goats) and the forage remains green all winter. Most of the bad reputation of running bamboo comes from urbanites who are dismayed when the bamboo goes under fences from the neighbor's yard because it was planted up against the fence. But outside of suburbia where it can be planted with open access on all sides if it starts to spread it simply is contained by mowing it with a lawn mower when the shoots come up in the spring. and in larger plantings it is easily controlled by cutting the rhizomes (done with a subsoil plow in really large plantings. Some varieties (e.g. Yellow Groove, aka Phylostachys aureosulcatta) are specifically chosen for earthen dam stabilization. because it not only stabilizes the earth but also shades out trees that would defeat the dam. I would encourage all permies to at least familiarize themselves with the benefits that can be achieved with this family of plants. There are varieties that can be grown most everywhere in the U.S. and parts of canada. (some even on snowy mountain sides.)
-- and you can make stufff out of it too.
-- and it is decorative
-- and it makes for great privacy barriers
-- and it makes great wind breaks
-- but generally do not plant it right up against buildings for a variety of reasons
-- consider fire risk when establishing groves because it burns intensly rather like pines
In other words like anything else in nature it has great uses but needs a modicum of knowledge in best usages.
Bamboo Gardens is located at
18900 NW Collins RD, North Plains, OR 97133
They can provide a vast array of varieties and an imense amount of knowledge, from their website and even provide advice and answers to questions.
Check in your own area, because if you can find a variety you like ,you can often get it for free (which is what I did and have freely done for others. Spring is the best time. and 4 to 10 foot tall plants are best. I have posted about the transplanting techniques.