Soil Erosion News
Water Research Group Awarded Grant
The Stroud Water Research Center in Avondale, Pennsylvania, has received $113,000 from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) in order to prevent soil erosion in local waterways.
The organization plans to put the money toward constructing riparian buffers on 38 acres along the Lower Susquehanna watershed.
The DCNR also awarded 12 other grants, to be used to plant trees along streams throughout Pennsylvania. The DCNR Secretary, Cindy Adam Dunn, said, “Today’s announcement will not only leverage about $1.4 million in additional funding, but it will move Pennsylvania to its goal of planting 95,000 acres of stream-side buffers by 2025.”
Earthworm Shortage Could Cause Erosion
Scientists are worried about the drastic decrease in earthworm populations in heavily-tilled soil. In their eating and excreting, earthworms fertilize and aerate soil, keeping it from eroding. As earthworms burrow through soil, oxygen and plant roots are able to reach further down. The soil is then better able to absorb more water.
“If earthworms suffer, so too does our soil,” said Birgit Wilhelm, a Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) expert in the farming sector. Heavy metals like copper, which many farmers use as pesticide, can decimate worm populations, as can droughts. With too few worms in the area, the soil will become dense, poorly aerated, and unabsorbable, leading to erosion and flooding.
Cost-Sharing Program Approved
Buffalo County, Minnesota, has allocated $150,000 of utility funds to aid landowners in repairing soil erosion dams after recent floods. A costsharing program with a $1,000 deductible would offer eligible landowners half the cost of repairing their damages. The county’s land conservation committee reported that sediment and debris washed into fields, pastures, drainage ways and soil-erosion structures.
District 11 County Supervisor Dennis Bork warned that the damages posed problems that would grow worse if they weren’t repaired, which lead to a 10-0 vote in order to provide aid for building. As of right now, the aid is going toward repairing government-designed conservation structures located on private land.
Riprap Project Protects Islands
The Lake Lanier Association is seeking to protect the lake’s several islands from erosion. The projects in Forsyth County, Georgia, are focusing on placing riprap at the islands’ shorelines to protect them from the water. Joanna Cloud, executive director of the Lake Lanier Association, said that the work should be done within the next month.
Cloud added that some of the lake’s islands have already eroded away, and that eroded islands pose a shallow-water boating hazard. The riprap will protect the islands and the boaters, in addition to keeping washed-away soil from filling up the reservoir and polluting the water. The cost of the projects is expected to be $437,000.
Conservation District Recognized for Service
The Bastrop County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) in Texas has been recognized for 75 years of service. The SWCD works in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, as well as local landowners, to prevent erosion from wind and water.
Originally divided into two organizations—the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Soil Erosion Service— the SWCD began in the midst of both the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. The two agencies were later merged into one, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt urged state governors to create Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
Bastrop’s SWCD #340 received its Certificate of Organization in 1958. Since then, it has sought to coordinate assistance from public, private, local, state and federal sources in order to develop solutions to natural resource concerns.
Seafront Town to Build Terminal Groin
Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, is moving forward with construction of a terminal dune to prevent erosion on the coastline.
The area had already seen problems with the oceans creeping up, and the town faced overwash damage from Hurricane Matthew. “With no protective frontal dunes, that overwash did a lot of damage to foundations, porches, decks and those kinds of things,” said Mayor Debbie Smith. She said that they had tried everything from sandbags to beach-fill projects, but it seems now that a groin is the best way to protect the beach.
The estimated construction cost for the project is $5.7 million. Mayor Smith said that the town plans to pay for the project out of its erosioncontrol beach fund. A Coastal Area Management Act Permit has already been granted for the groin, and the project is currently awaiting approval from the U.S. Corps of Engineers.
If approved, construction will begin in November 2017.
Erosion Isn’t All Bad
Controlling soil erosion is necessary to protect property, but erosion itself is a natural, necessary process. All soil is formed by erosion, due to wind and water breaking down rocks and washing them to the ground.
Erosion is also a key part of forming many national landmarks, such as the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado and the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
Yes, soil erosion can be destructive and worrying, even to the point of using man-made equipment to keep soil from washing away. But it’s also Mother Nature’s way of keeping the earth in check.