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Water: Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments

II. MANAGEMENT MEASURES FOR AGRICULTURAL SOURCES: A. Erosion and Sediment Control Management Measure

A. Erosion and Sediment Control Management Measure

Apply the erosion component of a Conservation Management System (CMS) as defined in the Field Office Technical Guide of the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Soil Conservation Service (see Appendix 2A of this chapter) to minimize the delivery of sediment from agricultural lands to surface waters, or

Design and install a combination of management and physical practices to settle the settleable solids and associated pollutants in runoff delivered from the contributing area for storms of up to and including a 10-year, 24-hour frequency.


1. Applicability

This management measure is intended to be applied by States to activities that cause erosion on agricultural land and on land that is converted from other land uses to agricultural lands. Agricultural lands include:


  • Cropland;
  • Irrigated cropland;
  • Range and pasture;
  • Orchards;
  • Permanent hayland;
  • Specialty crop production; and
  • Nursery crop production.

Under the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments of 1990, States are subject to a number of requirements as they develop coastal nonpoint programs in conformity with this measure and will have some flexibility in doing so. The application of management measures by States is described more fully in Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program: Program Development and Approval Guidance, published jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce.


2. Description

The problems associated with soil erosion are the movement of sediment and associated pollutants by runoff into a waterbody. See Section I.F.2 of this chapter for additional information regarding problems.

Application of this management measure will reduce the mass load of sediment reaching a waterbody and improve water quality and the use of the water resource. The measure can be implemented by using one of two different strategies or a combination of both. The first, and most desirable, strategy would be to implement practices on the field that would prevent erosion and the transport of sediment from the field. Practices that could be used to accomplish this are conservation tillage, contour strip-cropping, terraces, and critical area planting.


The second strategy is to route runoff from fields through practices that remove sediment. Practices that could be used to accomplish this are filter strips, field borders, grade stabilization structures, sediment retention ponds, water and sediment control basins, and terraces. Site conditions will dictate the appropriate combination of practices for any given situation.

Conservation management systems (CMS) include any combination of conservation practices and management that achieves a level of treatment of the five natural resources (i.e., soil, water, air, plants, and animals) that satisfies criteria contained in the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG), such as a resource management system (RMS) or an acceptable management system (AMS). These criteria are developed at the State level, with concurrence by the appropriate SCS National Technical Center (NTC). The criteria are then applied in the provision of field office technical assistance, under the direction of the District Conservationist of SCS. In-state coordination of FOTG use is provided by the Area Conservationist and State Conservationist of SCS.

The erosion component of a CMS addresses sheet and rill erosion, wind erosion, concentrated flow, streambank erosion, soil mass movements, road bank erosion, construction site erosion, and irrigation-induced erosion. National (minimum) criteria pertaining to erosion and sediment control under an RMS will be applied to prevent long-term soil degradation and to resolve existing or potential off-site deposition problems. National criteria pertaining to the water resource will be applied to control sediment movement to minimize contamination of receiving waters. The combined effects of these criteria will be to both reduce upland soil erosion and minimize sediment delivery to receiving waters.

The practical limits of resource protection under a CMS within any given area are determined through the application of national social, cultural, and economic criteria. With respect to economics, landowners will not be required to implement an RMS if the system is generally too costly for landowners. Instead, landowners may be required to implement a less costly, and less protective, AMS. In some cases, landowner constraints may be such that an RMS or AMS cannot be implemented quickly. In these situations, a "progressive planning approach" may be used to ultimately achieve planning and application of an RMS or AMS. Progressive planning is the incremental process of building a plan on part or all of the planning unit over a period of time. For additional details regarding CMS, RMS, and AMS, see Appendix 2A of this chapter.

It is recognized that implementation of this measure may increase the potential for movement of water and soluble pollutants through the soil profile to the ground water. It is not the intent of this measure to address a surface water problem at the expense of ground water. Erosion and sediment control systems can and should be designed to protect against the contamination of ground water. Ground-water protection will also be provided through implementation of the nutrient and pesticide management measures to reduce and control the application of nutrients and pesticides.


Operation and Maintenance

Continued performance of this measure will be ensured through supporting maintenance operations where appropriate. Since practices are designed to control a specific storm frequency, they may suffer damage when larger storms occur. It is expected that damage will be repaired after such storms and that practices will be inspected periodically. To ensure that practices selected to implement this measure will continue to function as designed and installed, some operational functions and maintenance will be necessary over the life of the practices.

Most structural practices for erosion and sediment control are designed to operate without human intervention. Management practices such as conservation tillage, however, do require "operation consideration" each time they are used. Field operations should be conducted with such practices in mind to ensure that they are not damaged or destroyed by the operations. For example, herbicides should not be applied to any practice that uses a permanent vegetative cover, such as waterways and filter strips.

Structural practices such as diversions, grassed waterways, and other practices that require grading and shaping may require repair to maintain the original design; reseeding may also be needed to maintain the original vegetative cover. Trees and brush should not be allowed to grow on berms, dams, or other structural embankments. Cleaning of sediment retention basins will be needed to maintain their original design capacity and efficiency.

Filter strips and field borders must be maintained to prevent channelization of flow and the resulting short-circuiting of filtering mechanisms. Reseeding of filter strips may be required on a frequent basis.


3. Management Measure Selection

This management measure was selected based on an evaluation of available information that documents the beneficial effects of improved erosion and sediment control (see Section II.A.4 of this chapter). Specifically, the available information shows that erosion control practices can be used to greatly reduce the quantity of eroding soil on agricultural land, and that edge-of-field practices can effectively remove sediment from runoff before it leaves agricultural lands. The benefits of this management measure include significant reductions in the mass load of sediment and associated pollutants (e.g., phosphorus, some pesticides) entering waterbodies. By reducing the load of sediment leaving a field, downstream water uses can be maintained and improved.

Two options are provided under this management measure that represent best available technology for minimizing the delivery of sediment from agricultural lands to receiving waters. Different management strategies, are employed, however, with the options. The most desirable option is "(1)" since it not only minimizes the delivery of sediment to receiving waters, but also reduces erosion to provide an agronomic benefit. Option "(2)" minimizes the delivery of sediment to receiving waters, but does not necessarily provide the agronomic benefits of upland erosion control. By providing these two options, States are given the flexibility to address erosion and sediment problems in a manner that best reflects State and local needs and preferences.

By designing the measure to achieve contaminant load reduction objectives, the necessary mix of structural and management practices for a given site should not result in undue economic impact on the operator. Many of the practices that could be used to implement this measure may already be required by Federal, State, or local rules (e.g., filter strips or field borders along streams) or may otherwise be in use on agricultural fields. Since many producers may already be using systems that satisfy or partly satisfy the intent of this management measure, the only action that may be necessary will be to recognize the effectiveness of the existing practices and add additional practices, if needed. By building upon existing erosion and sediment control efforts, the time, effort, and cost of implementing this measure will be reduced.


4. Effectiveness Information

The effectiveness of management practices depends on several factors, including:


  • The contaminant to be controlled;
  • The types of practices or controls being considered; and
  • Site-specific conditions.

Management practices or systems of practices must be designed for site-specific conditions to achieve desired effectiveness levels. Practice systems include combinations of practices that provide source control of the contaminant(s) as well as control or reductions in edge-of-field losses and delivery to receiving waters. Table 2-1 provides a gross estimate of practice effectiveness as reported in research literature. The actual effectiveness of a practice will depend exclusively on site-specific variables such as soil type, crop rotation, topography, tillage, and harvesting methods. Even within relatively small watersheds, extreme spatial and temporal variations are common. With this type of variation, the ranges of likely values associated with the reported observations in Table 2-1 are large.

The variability in the effectiveness of selected conservation practices that are frequently recommended by SCS in resource planning is illustrated in Table 2-2. This table can be used as a general guide for estimating the effects of these practices on water quality and quantity. The table references include additional site-specific information. Practice effects shown include changes in the water budget, sediment yield, and the movement of pesticides and nutrients. The impacts of variations in climate and soil conditions are accounted for to some extent through the presentation of effectiveness data for different soil-climate combinations. Data were not available for all soils and climates.

Data for the table were obtained from the research literature and include computer model simulation results. Values are reported as the percentage of change in the mass load of a given parameter that can be expected from installing the practice. Changes are determined versus a base condition of a rain-fed, nonleguminous, continuous, row crop (usually corn) that has been cultivated under conventional tillage.

Data from model studies are marked with an "M." For example, -27M indicates that the load reduction estimate of 27 percent is derived from a model simulation. Data obtained from plot studies using rainfall simulators are marked with an "S." For example, +15S indicates that the estimated load increase of 15 percent is based on a rainfall simulation study.

The range is reported in parentheses, followed by other reported values within the range, set off by commas. For example, (-32 to +10), -15, +5 denotes a range from a decrease of 32 percent to an increase of 10 percent, with intermediate reported changes of a 15 percent decrease and 5 percent increase. Some practices have a relatively wide range of values because of the variability in climate, soils, and management that occurs with these practices. Although some of the ranges are large, they can usually be attributed to small changes in very small quantities (thus the percentage change is great, yet the magnitude of change is small) or to the variability of site-specific conditions.

Table 2-2 contains the following information:


  • Column (a) lists the practice and its SCS reporting code number.
  • Column (b) lists the climate and a generalized soil classification for the site under consideration.
  • Column (c) is the percentage change in surface runoff and deep percolation, components of the water budget, caused by the applied practice.
  • Column (d) is the percentage change in sediment load caused by the applied practice.
  • Column (e) is the percentage change in the phosphorus load. Two phases of phosphorus are considered: adsorbed and dissolved.
  • Column (f) is the percentage change in the load of nitrogen in the adsorbed phase, nitrate in surface runoff, and nitrate in the leachate.
  • Column (g) is the percentage change in the pesticide load. The phases of the pesticide listed are (1) strongly adsorbed in surface water, (2) weakly adsorbed in surface water, and (3) weakly adsorbed in the leachate.

5. Erosion and Sediment Control Management Practices

As discussed more fully at the beginning of this chapter and in Chapter 1, the following practices are described for illustrative purposes only. State programs need not require implementation of these practices. However, as a practical matter, EPA anticipates that the management measure set forth above generally will be implemented by applying one or more management practices appropriate to the source, location, and climate. The practices set forth below have been found by EPA to be representative of the types of practices that can be applied successfully to achieve the management measure described above.

Combinations of the following practices can be used to satisfy the requirements of this management measure. The SCS practice number and definition are provided for each management practice, where available. Also included in italics are SCS statements describing the effect each practice has on water quality (USDA-SCS, 1988).


  • a. Conservation cover (327): Establishing and maintaining perennial vegetative cover to protect soil and water resources on land retired from agricultural production.

Agricultural chemicals are usually not applied to this cover in large quantities and surface and ground water quality may improve where these material are not used. Ground cover and crop residue will be increased with this practice. Erosion and yields of sediment and sediment related stream pollutants should decrease. Temperatures of the soil surface runoff and receiving water may be reduced. Effects will vary during the establishment period and include increases in runoff, erosion and sediment yield. Due to the reduction of deep percolation, the leaching of soluble material will be reduced, as will be the potential for causing saline seeps. Long-term effects of the practice would reduce agricultural nonpoint sources of pollution to all water resources.


  • b. Conservation cropping sequence (328): An adapted sequence of crops designed to provide adequate organic residue for maintenance or improvement of soil tilth.

This practice reduces erosion by increasing organic matter, resulting in a reduction of sediment and associated pollutants to surface waters. Crop rotations that improve soil tilth may also disrupt disease, insect and weed reproduction cycles, reducing the need for pesticides. This removes or reduces the availability of some pollutants in the watershed. Deep percolation may carry soluble nutrients and pesticides to the ground water. Underlying soil layers, rock and unconsolidated parent material may block, delay, or enhance the delivery of these pollutants to ground water. The fate of these pollutants will be site specific, depending on the crop management, the soil and geologic conditions.


  • c. Conservation tillage (329): Any tillage or planting system that maintains at least 30 percent of the soil surface covered by residue after planting to reduce soil erosion by water; or, where soil erosion by wind is the primary concern, maintains at least 1,000 pounds of flat, small-grain residue equivalent on the surface during the critical erosion period.

This practice reduces soil erosion, detachment and sediment transport by providing soil cover during critical times in the cropping cycle. Surface residues reduce soil compaction from raindrops, preventing soil sealing and increasing infiltration. This action may increase the leaching of agricultural chemicals into the ground water.

In order to maintain the crop residue on the surface it is difficult to incorporate fertilizers and pesticides. This may increase the amount of these chemicals in the runoff and cause more surface water pollution.

The additional organic material on the surface may increase the bacterial action on and near the soil surface. This may tie-up and then breakdown many pesticides which are surface applied, resulting in less pesticide leaving the field. This practice is more effective in humid regions.

With a no-till operation the only soil disturbance is the planter shoe and the compaction from the wheels. The surface applied fertilizers and chemicals are not incorporated and often are not in direct contact with the soil surface. This condition may result in a high surface runoff of pollutants (nutrient and pesticides). Macropores develop under a no-till system. They permit deep percolation and the transmittal of pollutants, both soluble and insoluble to be carried into the deeper soil horizons and into the ground water.

Reduced tillage systems disrupt or break down the macropores, incidentally incorporate some of the materials applied to the soil surface, and reduce the effects of wheeltrack compaction. The results are less runoff and less pollutants in the runoff.



  • d. Contour farming (330): Farming sloping land in such a way that preparing land, planting, and cultivating are done on the contour. This includes following established grades of terraces or diversions.

This practice reduces erosion and sediment production. Less sediment and related pollutants may be transported to the receiving waters.

Increased infiltration may increase the transportation potential for soluble substances to the ground water.



  • e. Contour orchard and other fruit area (331): Planting orchards, vineyards, or small fruits so that all cultural operations are done on the contour.

Contour orchards and fruit areas may reduce erosion, sediment yield, and pesticide concentration in the water lost. Where inward sloping benches are used, the sediment and chemicals will be trapped against the slope. With annual events, the bench may provide 100 percent trap efficiency. Outward sloping benches may allow greater sediment and chemical loss. The amount of retention depends on the slope of the bench and the amount of cover. In addition, outward sloping benches are subject to erosion form runoff from benches immediately above them. Contouring allows better access to rills, permitting maintenance that reduces additional erosion. Immediately after establishment, contour orchards may be subject to erosion and sedimentation in excess of the now contoured orchard. Contour orchards require more fertilization and pesticide application than did the native grasses that frequently covered the slopes before orchards were started. Sediment leaving the site may carry more adsorbed nutrients and pesticides than did the sediment before the benches were established from uncultivated slopes. If contoured orchards replace other crop or intensive land use, the increase or decrease in chemical transport from the site may be determined by examining the types and amounts of chemicals used on the prior land use as compared to the contour orchard condition.

Soluble pesticides and nutrients may be delivered to and possibly through the root zone in an amount proportional to the amount of soluble pesticides applied, the increase in infiltration, the chemistry of the pesticides, organic and clay content of the soil, and amounts of surface residues. Percolating water below the root zone may carry excess solutes or may dissolve potential pollutants as they move. In either case, these solutes could reach ground water supplies and/or surface downslope from the contour orchard area. The amount depends on soil type, surface water quality, and the availability of soluble material (natural or applied).


  • f. Cover and green manure crop (340): A crop of close-growing grasses, legumes, or small grain grown primarily for seasonal protection and soil improvement. It usually is grown for 1 year or less, except where there is permanent cover as in orchards.

Erosion, sediment and adsorbed chemical yields could be decreased in conventional tillage systems because of the increased period of vegetal cover. Plants will take up available nitrogen and prevent its undesired movement. Organic nutrients may be added to the nutrient budget reducing the need to supply more soluble forms. Overall volume of chemical application may decrease because the vegetation will supply nutrients and there may be allelopathic effects of some of the types of cover vegetation on weeds. Temperatures of ground and surface waters could slightly decrease.


  • g. Critical area planting (342): Planting vegetation, such as trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, or legumes, on highly erodible or critically eroding areas (does not include tree planting mainly for wood products).

This practice may reduce soil erosion and sediment delivery to surface waters. Plants may take up more of the nutrients in the soil, reducing the amount that can be washed into surface waters or leached into ground water.

During grading, seedbed preparation, seeding, and mulching, large quantities of sediment and associated chemicals may be washed into surface waters prior to plant establishment.


  • h. Crop residue use (344): Using plant residues to protect cultivated fields during critical erosion periods.

When this practice is employed, raindrops are intercepted by the residue reducing detachment, soil dispersion, and soil compaction. Erosion may be reduced and the delivery of sediment and associated pollutants to surface water may be reduced. Reduced soil sealing, crusting and compaction allows more water to infiltrate, resulting in an increased potential for leaching of dissolved pollutants into the ground water.

Crop residues on the surface increase the microbial and bacterial action on or near the surface. Nitrates and surface-applied pesticides may be tied-up and less available to be delivered to surface and ground water. Residues trap sediment and reduce the amount carried to surface water. Crop residues promote soil aggregation and improve soil tilth.



  • i. Delayed seed bed preparation (354): Any cropping system in which all of the crop residue and volunteer vegetation are maintained on the soil surface until approximately 3 weeks before the succeeding crop is planted, thus shortening the bare seedbed period on fields during critical erosion periods.

The purpose is to reduce soil erosion by maintaining soil cover as long as practical to minimize raindrop splash and runoff during the spring erosion period. Other purposes include moisture conservation, improved water quality, increased soil infiltration, improved soil tilth, and food and cover for wildlife.


  • j. Diversion (362): A channel constructed across the slope with a supporting ridge on the lower side (Figure 2-3).

This practice will assist in the stabilization of a watershed, resulting in the reduction of sheet and rill erosion by reducing the length of slope. Sediment may be reduced by the elimination of ephemeral and large gullies. This may reduce the amount of sediment and related pollutants delivered to the surface waters.


  • k. Field border (386): A strip of perennial vegetation established at the edge of a field by planting or by converting it from trees to herbaceous vegetation or shrubs.

This practice reduces erosion by having perennial vegetation on an area of the field. Field borders serve as "anchoring points" for contour rows, terraces, diversions, and contour strip cropping. By elimination of the practice of tilling and planting the ends up and down slopes, erosion from concentrated flow in furrows and long rows may be reduced. This use may reduce the quantity of sediment and related pollutants transported to the surface waters.


  • l. Filter strip (393): A strip or area of vegetation for removing sediment, organic matter, and other pollutants from runoff and wastewater.

Filter strips for sediment and related pollutants meeting minimum requirements may trap the coarser grained sediment. They may not filter out soluble or suspended fine-grained materials. When a storm causes runoff in excess When the field borders are located such that runoff flows across them in sheet flow, they may cause the deposition of sediment and prevent it from entering the surface water. Where these practice are between cropland and a stream or water body, the practice may reduce the amount of pesticide application drift from entering the surface water of the design runoff, the filter may be flooded and may cause large loads of pollutants to be released to the surface water. This type of filter requires high maintenance and has a relatively short service life and is effective only as long as the flow through the filter is shallow sheet flow.

Filter strips for runoff from concentrated livestock areas may trap organic material, solids, materials which become adsorbed to the vegetation or the soil within the filter. Often they will not filter out soluble materials. This type of filter is often wet and is difficult to maintain.

Filter strips for controlled overland flow treatment of liquid wastes may effectively filter out pollutants. The filter must be properly managed and maintained, including the proper resting time. Filter strips on forest land may trap coarse sediment, timbering debris, and other deleterious material being transported by runoff. This may improve the quality of surface water and has little effect on soluble material in runoff or on the quality of ground water.

All types of filters may reduce erosion on the area on which they are constructed.

Filter strips trap solids from the runoff flowing in sheet flow through the filter. Coarse-grained and fibrous materials are filtered more efficiently than fine-grained and soluble substances. Filter strips work for design conditions, but when flooded or overloaded they may release a slug load of pollutants into the surface water.


  • m. Grade stabilization structure (410): A structure used to control the grade and head cutting in natural or artificial channels.

Where reduced stream velocities occur upstream and downstream from the structure, streambank and streambed erosion will be reduced. This will decrease the yield of sediment and sediment-attached substances. Structures that trap sediment will improve downstream water quality. The sediment yield change will be a function of the sediment yield to the structure, reservoir trap efficiency and of velocities of released water. Ground water recharge may affect aquifer quality depending on the quality of the recharging water. If the stored water contains only sediment and chemical with low water solubility, the ground water quality should not be affected.


  • n. Grassed waterway (412): A natural or constructed channel that is shaped or graded to required dimensions and established in suitable vegetation for the stable conveyance of runoff.

This practice may reduce the erosion in a concentrated flow area, such as in a gully or in ephemeral gullies. This may result in the reduction of sediment and substances delivered to receiving waters. Vegetation may act as a filter in removing some of the sediment delivered to the waterway, although this is not the primary function of a grassed waterway.

Any chemicals applied to the waterway in the course of treatment of the adjacent cropland may wash directly into the surface waters in the case where there is a runoff event shortly after spraying.

When used as a stable outlet for another practice, waterways may increase the likelihood of dissolved and suspended pollutants being transported to surface waters when these pollutants are delivered to the waterway.



  • o. Grasses and legumes in rotation (411): Establishing grasses and legumes or a mixture of them and maintaining the stand for a definite number of years as part of a conservation cropping system.

Reduced runoff and increased vegetation may lower erosion rates and subsequent yields of sediment and sediment-attached substances. Less applied nitrogen may be required to grow crops because grasses and legumes will supply organic nitrogen. During the period of the rotation when the grasses and legumes are growing, they will take up more phosphorus. Less pesticides may similarly be required with this practice. Downstream water temperatures may be lower depending on the season when this practice is applied. There will be a greater opportunity for animal waste management on grasslands because manures and other wastes may be applied for a longer part of the crop year.


  • p. Sediment basins (350): Basins constructed to collect and store debris or sediment.

Sediment basins will remove sediment, sediment associated materials and other debris from the water which is passed on downstream. Due to the detention of the runoff in the basin, there is an increased opportunity for soluble materials to be leached toward the ground water.


  • q. Contour stripcropping (585): Growing crops in a systematic arrangement of strips or bands on the contour to reduce water erosion.

The crops are arranged so that a strip of grass or close-growing crop is alternated with a strip of clean-tilled crop or fallow or a strip of grass is alternated with a close-growing crop (Figure 2-4).

This practice may reduce erosion and the amount of sediment and related substances delivered to the surface waters. The practice may increase the amount of water which infiltrates into the root zone, and, at the time there is an overabundance of soil water, this water may percolate and leach soluble substances into the ground water.


  • r. Field strip-cropping (586): Growing crops in a systematic arrangement of strips or bands across the general slope (not on the contour) to reduce water erosion.

The crops are arranged so that a strip of grass or a close-growing crop is alternated with a clean-tilled crop or fallow.

This practice may reduce erosion and the delivery of sediment and related substances to the surface waters. The practice may increase infiltration and, when there is sufficient water available, may increase the amount of leachable pollutants moved toward the ground water.

Since this practice is not on the contour there will be areas of concentrated flow, from which detached sediment, adsorbed chemicals and dissolved substances will be delivered more rapidly to the receiving waters. The sod strips will not be efficient filter areas in these areas of concentrated flow.


  • s. Terrace (600): An earthen embankment, a channel, or combination ridge and channel constructed across the slope (Figures 2-5 and 2-6).

This practice reduces the slope length and the amount of surface runoff which passes over the area downslope from an individual terrace. This may reduce the erosion rate and production of sediment within the terrace interval. Terraces trap sediment and reduce the sediment and associated pollutant content in the runoff water which enhance surface water quality. Terraces may intercept and conduct surface runoff at a nonerosive velocity to stable outlets, thus, reducing the occurrence of ephemeral and classic gullies and the resulting sediment. Increases in infiltration can cause a greater amount of soluble nutrients and pesticides to be leached into the soil. Underground outlets may collect highly soluble nutrient and pesticide leachates and convey runoff and conveying it directly to an outlet, terraces may increase the delivery of pollutants to surface waters. Terraces increase the opportunity to leach salts below the root zone in the soil. Terraces may have a detrimental effect on water quality if they concentrate and accelerate delivery of dissolved or suspended nutrient, salt, and pesticide pollutants to surface or ground waters.


  • t. Water and sediment control basin (638): An earthen embankment or a combination ridge and channel generally constructed across the slope and minor watercourses to form a sediment trap and water detention basin.

The practice traps and removes sediment and sediment-attached substances from runoff. Trap control efficiencies for sediment and total phosphorus, that are transported by runoff, may exceed 90 percent in silt loam soils. Dissolved substances, such as nitrates, may be removed from discharge to downstream areas because of the increased infiltration. Where geologic condition permit, the practice will lead to increased loadings of dissolved substances toward ground water. Water temperatures of surface runoff, released through underground outlets, may increase slightly because of longer exposure to warming during its impoundment.


  • u. Wetland and riparian zone protection

Wetland and riparian zone protection practices are described in Chapter 7.


6. Cost Information

Both national and selected State costs for a number of common erosion control practices are presented in Tables 2-3 through 2-7. The variability in costs for practices can be accounted for primarily through differences in site-specific applications and costs, differences in the reporting units used, and differences in the interpretation of reporting units.

[ Table 2-3 ] [ Table 2-4 ] [ Table 2-5 ] [Table 2-6 ] [Table 2-7 ]

The cost estimates for control of erosion and sediment transport from agricultural lands in Table 2-8 are based on experiences in the Chesapeake Bay Program, but are illustrative of the costs that could be incurred in coastal areas across the Nation. It is important to note that for some practices, such as conservation tillage, the net costs often approach zero and in some cases can be negative because of the savings in labor and energy.

The annual cost of operation and maintenance is estimated to range from zero to 10 percent of the investment cost (USDA-SCS-Michigan, 1988).




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