Conservation Notes: Erosion

While April showers bring May flowers, it seems this year’s May rains brought a lot of erosion issues.  One of the local programs that the SWCD administers is a series of volunteer rain gauge monitors throughout Chisago County.  Our goal is to maintain one volunteer in each of our townships; we currently have thirteen volunteer rain gauge monitors.

As the month of May ended and we started collecting monthly rain fall amounts from our volunteers, it was pretty amazing to see just how much rain fell in the county.  All total, the county average for May was just about 10.9 inches of rainfall, with a high of 13.75 inches recorded in Shafer Township.

As the rains persisted, our soils became saturated to the point that most of the water had to runoff and go someplace.  In most cases the water was able to be contained within a vegetative area and little or no erosion occurred, but there are also numerous places where just the opposite happened… a lot of soil and whatever else the water picked up moved down the slope into our lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands.

At the SWCD we are currently working with numerous landowners who have experienced erosion as a result of the large amounts of rain that fell in May.  Examples of problem areas include gullies in corn and/or soybean fields, bank erosion along a stream or ditch due to high water levels, gully erosion where concentrated flow went over a steep slope, and erosion along County and Township gravel roads.

There are many conservation practices that can be implemented on your property to keep soil in place during rain events.  Conservation practices such as grassed waterways, native buffers, and water and sediment control basins are all methods commonly used to stabilize erosion-prone areas.  If you would like more information on conservation practices that will help correct erosion issues on your property please contact the Chisago Soil and Water Conservation District office at 651-674-2333 or visit our website at

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