Erosion and Sediment Control
Why Be Concerned about Erosion?
Erosion occurs when rain or flowing water dislodges and transports soil
particles, organic matter, and plant nutrients. Erosion carries away
soil resources, reduces soil fertility, and produces thousands of tons
of sediment that degrade water quality. Soil and sediment may convey
harmful bacteria, toxins, and nutrients into surface waters and groundwater.
Flooding, habitat destruction, and subsidence increase when eroded soil
and debris clog creeks, caves, sinking streams, springs, sinkholes, and
ways. To reduce erosion and sedimentation, karst features must be identified
and receive special protection from erosion impacts.
Signs of Erosion, Sedimentation and Subsidence include:
- Bare soil and cracked earth in and around sinkholes,
roads, and building foundations.
- Exposed roots of trees and vegetation
- Gullies carved into banks, slopes, and ditches • Silt
buildup, fresh mud deposits, and muddy water
- Widening and
subsidence of stream channels and drainage ways
- Undercut stream banks and fallen trees along drainage ways
Keep Erosion and Sediment Under Control.
Proper land management practices
hold soil and nutrients in place and keep sediment, nutrients,
and pesticides out of watercourses. Specific best management practices
- Conservation and Contour Tillage: Any farming or
planting method that utilizes the most level lay of the land and keeps
plant residue on the soil surface during critical
- Construction Planning: Any building project that disturbs the soil can create an erosion
and sediment problem.
In cooperation with your county Erosion and Sediment Control Administrator,
proper planning and design can prevent or minimize erosion, sedimentation,
flooding, and subsidence in karstlands. Stay away from active karst features
such as sinking streams, sinkholes, and lands on top of caves.
- Critical Area Planting: As soon as
possible, reseed disturbed areas with temporary and/or native
vegetation. Plant rigorous cuttings on bare, undercut, and eroding
areas around sinkholes, springs, stream banks, and drainage ways.
Maintain vegetated filter
strips or grassed waterways down slope of agricultural or construction operations
to slow and disperse water evenly over a large area, and to allow the natural
removal of sediment, organic matter, and other pollutants carried in the
- Proper Drainage: Avoid rerouting waterways
and drainage patterns in karst. Altering surface flows into sinkholes
can cause erosion in the subsurface
which results in sudden land collapse or subsidence. Ditches should
be lined in areas near caves. Use silt fences to protect karst features
and water resources from erosion and sedimentation until vegetation
- Temporary Structures: Protect adjacent property
and sensitive springs or streams by constructing silt fences across
ditches and drainage ways. These must be inspected
frequently and cleaned out after each rain event.
- Silt Fence: A temporary sediment barrier consisting of a synthetic filter fabric
stretched across and attached to supporting posts and entrenched.