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Dodge Co. farms urged to address gully erosion

5:23 PM, Apr. 25, 2013  |  Comments
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Gully erosion continues to be a problem on some Dodge County farms. Gully erosion can occur as a result of a single storm event, or over the course of many years and many storms. Gullies form when excessive rain or snowmelt water flows over the land in a concentrated manner through under-protected depressional areas on cropland. Every year, heavy rains cut gullies through Dodge County farm fields, with some requiring extensive time, effort and money to repair.

Controlling this type of soil erosion requires conservation practices that first reduce the quantity of water running off the land, and secondly it requires conservation practices that adequately protect the channel bottom of the area where concentrated flows occur. Water absorbing and retaining practices like contour farming, contour stripcropping, residue management, and temporary cover crops can help reduce the quantity of water and speed at which water runs off the land. Conservation practices such as critical area stabilization, grass bottom waterways, and rock lined waterways can help protect the channelized areas where concentrated flows occur.

Environmental benefits resulting from controlling gully erosion include reduced soil erosion, reduced delivery of sediment, and reduced delivery of phosphorus and other pollutants to surface waters. Benefits to farmers include the maintenance of cropland soil productivity, reduced costs to repair and restore gullied fields, and reduced costs to clean out farm drainage ditches. Benefits to the general public include less tax dollars spent on cleaning and repairing roadside ditches and road culverts.

Dodge County farmers are urged to be "on the look-out" for gullies that develop as snow melts and runs off crop fields this spring, and after any heavy rain events this spring and summer. If you have an area on your property that needs protection from gully erosion, or if you still have gullies from previous years that need to be repaired, we encourage you to call the Dodge County Land Conservation Department weekdays between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM to ask for technical and financial assistance. Our telephone number is (920) 386-3660.

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