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NCFS-Home >> Water Quality >> Beginning Steps: Erosion Control

Erosion Control

Two key concepts, "slow it down" and "spread it out", can be thought of as the immediate purpose in erosion control. Erosion is a natural process in which water or wind transports soil particles. If left uncontrolled erosion can significantly degrade water quality and reduce the soil productivity of forestland.

Two main factors determine the potential for increased erosion on any given soil:

  1. The amount of bare soil that is exposed
  2. The length of time that the soil is exposed

You can control both of these factors, as well as take actions that will enhance erosion control over the long-term. By using forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs), erosion can remain in check and not become a source of water pollution.

Information about soil characteristics and relationships between soil and erosion is available in Chapter 1 of the North Carolina forestry BMP manual and Forestry Leaflet WQ2, Preventing and Controlling Runoff, Erosion and Sedimentation.

Erosion control practices are strongly recommended on roads, skid trails, log decks, stream crossings, and firelines. These are the locations on forestland that are most prone to erosion and typically require the greatest attention.

Control the runoff..
Some of the methods commonly used in forestry for controlling erosion are listed below, and explained in detail in Chapter 5 - Part 1 of the BMP manual:

  • Broad based dips
  • Cross-drains
  • Road surface grading
  • Turnouts (wing ditches)
  • Waterbars

Capture the sediment
In addition to controlling erosion, you should consider capturing any sediment before it can reach a stream, creek or waterbody. Some devices to accomplish this are explained in Chapter 5 - Part 2 of the BMP manual, and are noted below:

  • Brush barrier
  • Check dams
  • Filter areas
  • Sediment pit/trap
  • Silt fence
  • Straw/hay bales

The bottom line? Keep the soil on the hill and out of the creek.

This page updated: Friday, March 3, 2017 12:25

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