How Is Erosion Prevented?

erosion-prevented Credit: PetePattavina/E+/Getty Images

There are several ways to prevent erosion, including grassing waterways, conserving tillage, covering crops, managing pastures and fortifying stream and riverbanks. Some erosion control methods, such as fortifying embankments along waterways, take place at the source, while others, such as modifying farming techniques, occur offsite. These techniques help to control and stabilize erosion on short- and long-term bases and are ideally used in combination.

One common method of controlling erosion involves placing filter strips and buffers along river corridors and slopes. These strips help to slow water speed, trap sediment and debris and filter harmful toxins and pollutants, such as chemicals and pesticides. These strips prevent sediment from leaving farm areas and infiltrating nearby water systems. Grassing waterways is another erosion control mechanism that reduces the volume of tillage and reduces soil loss.

Contour farming is a long-term method of erosion prevention that creates perpendicular rows along valleys and crop fields instead of perpendicular rows that run vertically up and down slopes. These crop rows create series of small dams that slow water flow and reduce soil loss. Pasture management is another long-term technique that involves appropriately balancing the number of grazing animals with the size of farm land, which allows water-absorbing vegetation to grow and prevents plants from being uprooted, which in turn reserves critical cover.