Why is Water Erosion a Concern?

Loss of topsoil changes the capacity of the soil to function and restricts its ability to sustain future uses. Erosion removes or redistributes topsoil, the layer of soil with the greatest amount of organic matter, biological activity, and nutrients. The ability of a plant community to recover after topsoil is lost is restricted. Erosion breaks down soil structure, exposing organic matter within soil aggregates to decomposition and loss. Degraded soil structure reduces the rate of water infiltration. Erosion of nutrient-rich topsoil can cause a shift to less desirable plants, such as from grass to shrub species. In this process, soil organic matter and nutrients eroded from one area contribute to resource accumulation in another, such as the area around shrubs. Erosion of shallow soils can decrease the thickness of the root zone and the amount of air, water, and nutrients available to plants. The sediment removed by erosion can bury plants and roads; accumulate in streams, rivers, and reservoirs; and degrade water quality. Learning about why soil erosion is a concern is the first step in learning how to prevent it. Please visit this website and read some interesting stories about how others are preventing soil erosion.