Erosion Control Measures (ECM) - Introduction and Objectives


Erosion control measures are intended to prevent and/or reduce movement of eroded soil sediments off-site/land. Selection of the proper erosion control measure must take into consideration the magnitude and type of erosion, as well as the resources available for implementation. This lesson will consider various control measures used to prevent erosion, and minimize its effects on soil resources, water and air quality, and human health. It will discuss erosion control practices for both cropland and urban environments. The impact of various control measures on erosion factors will be demonstrated with exercises using an interactive Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) calculator. The lesson is written to target educational needs of lower level undergraduate students and is open for the use by the public and educational institutions. Depending on the goals/objectives of a course, training, workshop, part or all sections of the lesson can be used.

Upon completing this lesson, a student should be able to:

1. Describe erosion control measures on urban land.

2. Describe erosion control measures for cropped environments.

3. Demonstrate effects of erosion management practices on annual soil loss using the USLE erosion calculator.


  • Self-paced questions ('Thinking questions') are embedded within the lesson and are also available in printable worksheet format at the beginning of each page. These self-paced or thinking questions are intended to generate discussion. They can be used in classroom small group discussion. If the course is distance and the lesson is used to support course objective, they can be used as online discussion threads.
  • Objective questions focusing on the fundamentals or principles of soil erosion and its impacts can be developed as an assessment tool.
  • A local, national, international erosion problem can be used as a case-study project for students to apply erosion and erosion control practices.
JNRLSE Approved 2005

Development of this lesson was supported in by USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, & Extension Service (USDA-CSREES), under Contract Number 2003-51130-02072. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the USDA-CSREES. Journal Series No. 05-01 of the University of Nebraska College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Lincoln, NE.