Erosion Control


The top 6-8" of soil (or topsoil) is uniquely able to support plant and microbial life. But topsoil can be depleted by wind or water erosion and poor management, leading to lower productivity and environmental issues. Erosion continues to be a Critical Concern in Ohio to support healthy soils and water quality.

Key Strategies 

Minimal disturbance – Using fewer tillage events, or at least lighter ones, will keep soil aggregates intact to slow the breakdown of organic matter and help prevent wind erosion.

Constant cover – Always keep something on your soil surface to provide protection from rain impact and wind. This can include crop residues and mulch, but the best and most effective covers involve roots in the ground, which also contribute to soil organic matter and biological activity.

Water management – Precipitation patterns are changing in many areas. Be sure your fields have effective ways to handle excess water such as appropriate tile drainage, grassed waterways, or drainage ditches. Poor water management will also cause trouble with fertility and regional water quality. Farmers in the Lake Erie Basin may have access to financial assistance for water management improvements through H2Ohio or other programs.

Surrounding vegetation – Windbreaks and riparian zones can offer protection from windy conditions  and rising waterway levels.

BMPs to Address Erosion 

(from AgBMPs Critical Concerns site

Description of Critical Concern

Potential BMP Solutions

Rill Erosion

Inter-rill and rill erosion moves soil within the field boundary

Gully Erosion

Gully erosion via concentrated surface flow resulting in off site deposition

Ditch Collapse

Ditch/Streambank Collapse adds sediment downstream

Surface Inlet

Surface water leaving via field edge or tile risers results in surface water with higher nutrient concentrations entering stream


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