USDA Website Documents Check-Dam Success in Halting Erosion in Southwest

USDA Agricultural Research Service has introduced a new Rangeland Restoration Research website that documents the performance of 37 check dams in the American Southwest from 2008 to 2019. The check dams are barricades made of loose rocks, made across minor channels that were experiencing erosion. The check dams slow runoff, trapping sediment that helps reverse the effects of erosion and allowing more water to infiltrate the soil. The low-cost check dams can not only halt erosion, but can result in minor channels refilling with sediment over the course of a few years. One key to making the dams work is maintaining them, the researchers note.