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Solving your erosion problems

Erosion is not a new issue for farmers and landowners. Colonial Soil and Water Conservation District (CSWCD) staff help dozens of landowners/producers with erosion issues every year by providing both cost-share funding and technical assistance. In the past few years, Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) have received historic funding allocations that have allowed us to help combat many of the erosion issues we were previously unable to address. Before now, the WP-1 Erosion and Sediment Control Structures practice was infrequently used by CSWCD, however, these large funding allocations have made it a feasible practice for us and the landowner. 

Last year we completed three erosion control structures through our Virginia Agricultural Cost-Share (VACS) program. This increase in funding has allowed us to actively seek out erosion issues and to address them before they get out of hand. Erosion, like the example shown in the image below, can be caused by a variety of factors including: soil structure, soil texture, vegetation, root systems, and even karst topography in some cases, but the most important factor that contributes to erosion in our area is precipitation. We have observed an increasing number of these sites over the past few years, which can be attributed (at least in part) to irregular rainfall patterns and heavier and more frequent precipitation.

Erosion sites like the one below can be addressed in a variety of ways that follow roughly the same principle: provide a designated channel that allows water to move in a certain flow path that is reinforced to withstand the flow rate. In this specific example, the most reasonable course of action for both the producer and the taxpayer is to grade the soil out to provide a gradual funnel that leads into a channel reinforced by geotextile fabric and stone to move the stormwater further downstream. The funnel will be planted in permanent perennial vegetation, which will provide a year round root system that will help keep the sediment in place. 

erosion in agricultural field

If you are an agricultural producer or an agricultural landowner, please reach out to us if you see examples of erosion happening on your property. We have a dedicated team that will be happy to visit the site and provide you with a list of solutions for how best to address the issue. 

If you or someone you know is an agricultural landowner and is experiencing erosion issues, feel free to call our office at (757) 645-4895.

Read more articles in the Spring 2024 CSWCD Newsletter.


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