Prairie Ridge Ecostation

Erosion Control

What are the negative consequences of erosion and why is it important to control erosion?

Soil erosion occurs when water, ice or wind removes surface soils from an area of land. Most often the top layer is removed, which contains topsoil and most of the organic matter in the earth. This reduces biological productivity in the area that needs these nutrients to grow plants.

In 1992 alone, a total of 2.1 billion tons of US cropland soil was lost to erosion. Ultimately, this can lead to the desertification of cropland. The economic impacts of erosion can be tremendous. The USDA estimates that offsite costs due to erosion are between $2 billion and $8 billion annually.

Erosion also contributes to the degradation of water quality, particularly when fertilizers erode along with the soil. The addition of nitrate-laden sediments to water bodies can lead to eutrophication and decreased dissolved oxygen levels, which can result in harmful algal blooms and, occasionally, fish kills. In North Carolina, sediment from erosion is the number one water pollutant.

What did Prairie Ridge do to limit erosion during construction?

At Prairie Ridge, we minimized the amount of land that was excavated, disturbing as little earth as possible. Also, in order to limit erosion, we seeded areas that would later be disturbed during the creation of permanent and temporary roads.

The Outdoor Classroom at Prairie Ridge

Why should I control erosion?

Controlling erosion is important for the productivity and aesthetic of a landscape. To grow well, plants require the organic matter and nutrients held within the most commonly eroded soil layer, topsoil. By controlling the erosion of topsoil from your property, you should be able to cultivate a garden or keep a nice lawn with far less effort than on an eroded site. Controlling erosion maintains the value of your property and may make you eligible to receive a discount on your stormwater fee for collecting rainwater.