Farm & Ranch Runoff and Drainage
Surface water runoff from farms and ranches can carry contaminants such as sediments, nutrients and agrochemicals into nearby waterways. Very rapid runoff on steep ground can cause erosion that carries sediment that can also settle out and clog ditches and waterways, reducing their flow capacity and causing flood-related damage. Land managers face challenges with managing crop and animal health while keeping excessive movement of the water and nutrients they need from moving off their land. This represents both a financial loss and a potential regulatory liability, so the RCD and USDA NRCS are charged with providing local guidance and assistance to address this. The basic concept is to ‘slow the flow’ wherever possible by various methods to enhance infiltration and reduce runoff using vegetation and engineering solutions, which range in cost from dollars per acre to tens of thousands of dollars per project.