Conservation Notes: What’s a WASCoB?

WASCoB is an acronym that stands for Water and Sediment Control Basin. You might have seen one and not even known what it was. WASCoBs often look like a small depression at the edge of a field with a berm that temporarily holds water in place. Often, you’ll see a bright orange pipe sticking up in the middle of the low area. This is called a Hickenbottom. It’s a pipe that lets water out of the depression area at a controlled rate.

Why would anyone need a WASCoB? This practice is often installed along an agricultural field that has had erosion issues from heavy rainfall runoff. The runoff may have caused a large gully, which contributes high sediment loads to local water, but also makes it difficult to farm along the gully. The WASCoB is an increasingly popular choice for correcting these erosion issues while maintaining the most farmable land for the owner.

WSACoBs aren’t the only option. Other conservation management practices can also be used to control erosion and stabilize farmland. Tillage practices are often directly related to erosion issues. Land that is sloped or made up of light soils will benefit from the use of conservation management practices such as no-till or mulch till farming. This type of farming creates more vegetation residue and less direct wind and water contact to soil. Significant gulling and channeling to the soil may be addressed with grassed waterways, which slow down the flow of water to reduce the movement of the topsoil particles and drain the water into a stable outlet. These practices are often practical on agricultural land that contain significant slopes and are operated with minimal residue.

Those who would like technical assistance in applying these management techniques or have general soil erosion questions, contact the local USDA Service Center at 651-674-7160. Cost share may be available to eligible landowners through the EQIP program. Contact the USDA Service Center to learn more. The EQIP application sign up deadline is Feb. 15.

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