Erosion control strategies

Amber Anderson


The main goals of erosion control strategies are simple-control either detachment or transport of soil. Specifics are dependent upon the situation, as what works in one location may not work for another.

Soil health

Maintaining soil health increases resilience to erosive forces. Aggregate stability-as shown in the video below, is one of the factors impacting erosion. If aggregates stay together, water erosion will only take place if there is enough force to move the whole aggregate, rather than the single particle.

Wind erosion control

Major strategies to control wind erosion include protecting the soil from initial detachment, or slowing the wind so it cannot detach or carry the sediment. These may look different depending upon the situation, but a few examples might be windbreaks, eliminating or decreasing tillage, or adding cover crops or a perennial cover.


A common feature around sensitive sites, like farmsteads or high value crops, is a windbreak. Installed up-wind from the location, the area protected is approximately 10x the height of the windbreak downwind of the feature. Closest to the windbreak is most protected and protection decreases with distance away.

Windbreak resources

Water erosion

A variety of techniques can be utilized for decreasing water erosion. Main principles are the same, to control detachment and/or slow down the water so it is unable to carry the sediment.

In agricultural fields

Soybeans planting into standing rye cover. The rye was planted in the early fall starting growth then and continuing in the early spring to protect the surface over the fall and increase biological activity/organic matter. This rye was terminated near the soybean planting time.

Other practices might include terraces, that break up the slope length allowing infiltration. Waterways, protecting the path of the water off the field instead of allowing rill or gully erosion.



Construction sites




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Introduction to Soil Science Copyright © 2023 by Amber Anderson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.