Soil Erosion, Conservation, and Water Quality


Soil erosion is a global problem. Each year, erosion costs billions of dollars in loss of land productivity, damage from soil sediment deposition and subsequent restoration costs, and harm to plant, animal, and human health due to air and water pollution. This lesson will consider the impacts of erosion at local, regional, national, and international levels. It will discuss how erosion occurs and the main factors that contribute to erosion. In addition, the different types of water and wind erosion will be discussed. The lesson is written to target educational needs of lower level undergraduate students and is open for use by the public and educational institutions. Depending on the goals/objectives of a course, training, workshop, part or all sections of the lesson could be used.

Erosion Control Measures

This lesson will discuss erosion control practices in the agricultural and construction environments. The impact of erosion management practices will be demonstrated with exercises using a USLE calculator.

Manure Phosphorus and Surface Water Protection I: Basic Concepts of Soil and Water P

This lesson focuses on the process of eutrophication; the relationship between land application of manure and soil phosphorus (P) dynamics on P delivery to surface waters; and on the P dynamics in water bodies that result in increased P available to aquatic vegetation.

Manure Phosphorus and Surface Water Protection II: Field and Management Factors

This lesson describes how source factors, including soil characteristics and management practices, affect phosphorus (P) delivery to surface waters; and also discusses how crop producers can control these factors through their management practices.

Manure Phosphorus and Surface Water Protection III: Transport Factors

This lesson addresses transport factors that may contribute to phosphorus (P) delivery to surface waters. Erosion, runoff, subsurface flow, drainage, and distance to surface water are the main factors. In some places, wind erosion may also be important. The effects of management practices on P transport are discussed, and water-related P transport processes are described in detail.

Manure Phosphorus and Surface Water Protection IV: Assessment of the Risk of Agricultural P Delivery

Addresses the assessment of potential for P delivery to surface waters resulting from the interaction of the source and transport factors addressed in Lessons II and III. The basic concepts and applications of P indexes as risk assessment tools are explored.