How to Prevent Soil Erosion

Soil erosion is a concern not only for its impacts on plant growth, but also for its impacts to water quality. Soil is a valuable natural resource that nourishes and supports plant growth among many other things. When soil is left bare and exposed, wind and water can erode it.

Sediments that are transported to storm drains and surface waters can choke aquatic life and increase water temperatures. Various pollutants such as bacteria, nutrients, and heavy metals may also be attached to these sediments, further degrading water quality.

To help you from having to deal with soil erosion, here are some great tips on how to prevent it from happening:

  • Crop Rotation: Rotating in high-residue crops — such as corn, hay, and small grain — can reduce erosion as the layer of residue protects topsoil from being carried away by wind and water.

  • Conservation Tillage: Conventional tillage produces a smooth surface that leaves soil vulnerable to erosion. Conservation tillage methods such as no-till planting, strip rotary tillage, chiseling, and disking leave more of the field surface covered with crop residue that protects the soil from eroding forces.

  • Contour Farming: Planting in row patterns that run level around a hill — instead of up and down the slope — has been shown to reduce runoff and decrease the risk of water erosion.

  • Strip Farming: In areas where a slope is particularly steep or there is no alternative method of preventing erosion, planting fields in long strips alternated in a crop rotation system (strip farming) has proven effective.

  • Terrace Farming: Many farmers have successfully combated erosion by planting in flat areas created on hillsides in a step-like formation (terrace farming).

  • Grass Waterways: By planting grass in areas of concentrated water flow, farmers can prevent much of the soil erosion that results from runoff, as the grass stabilizes the soil while still providing an outlet for drainage.

  • Diversion Structures: Used often for gully control, diversion structures cause water to flow along a desired path and away from areas at high risk for erosion.

Triumph Geo-Synthetics, Inc.

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