Keeping Soil in its Place: Funding for Erosion Control

Empty farm land with soil

This is part two of our five-part Farm Gate series about agricultural projects that are supported by the ALUS Peel Pilot. Other articles in this series: The Best Defense is a Good Fence

According to the World Wildlife Foundation, half of the world’s topsoil has eroded away over the last 150 years. Although soil erosion is a natural process, farmers know that it can be a serious problem. Soil is the foundation for resilient and productive agriculture, and it is degraded when wind or water carry its particles away. This also poses risks to local water quality by causing soil sedimentation and surface water contamination from nutrients and pollutants.

Using soil health best management practices (BMPs) like planting cover crops and wind breaks, helps to keep soil in place. However, farmers facing difficult soil erosion problems may require more than soil health BMPs. In these instances, they may turn to the use of erosion control structures. These are structures built in an agricultural field and designed to manage the overland water flow during intense precipitation and runoff events. They manage runoff by slowing it down, controlling its path and/or draining it below ground.   

The ALUS Peel Pilot, an extension of the Peel Rural Water Quality Program, offers funding to farmers protecting and maintaining their lands. Three types of erosion control structures funded by ALUS include:

  • Grass waterways are simply grassed channels that help to control water runoff by directing its flow away from a field to a safe outlet.
  • Water and sediment control basins are water retention basins that use earthen berms (barriers) to cause water to pond and a standpipe inlets that conveys the surface water to subsurface drains. 
  • Terraces are a constructed landscape feature consisting of ridges and channels that break slopes into sections. This reduces the velocity of water running down a slope, allowing it to soak naturally into the soil instead of washing it away.

Through the ALUS Peel program, farmers receive annual payments to establish, maintain and monitor on-farm stewardship projects. The program is available to farmers within the Region of Peel. Other funding sources to support erosion control methods are available outside of Peel. If you have an erosion control project in mind, contact our team today.

Learn about some of the soil health BMPs that landowners can use to help keep soil in its place in our five-part series on soil health.

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