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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Soil Erosion and Sedimentation

Authors
item Nearing, Mark
item Norton, Lloyd
item Zhang, Xunchang

Submitted to: Agricultural Nonpoint Source Pollution: Watershed Management and Hydrology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: May 19, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Soil erosion includes the processes of detachment of soil particles from the soil mass and the subsequent transport and deposition of those sediment particles on land surfaces. Erosion is the source of 99 percent of the total suspended solids loads in waterways in the United States (USDA, 1989) and undoubtedly around the world. Somewhat over half of the approximately 5 billion tons of soil eroded every year in the United States reaches small streams. This sediment has a tremendous societal cost associated with it in terms of stream degradation, disturbance to wildlife habitat, as well as direct costs for dredging, levees, and reservoir storage losses. Sediment is also an important vehicle for the transport of soil bound chemical contaminants from non-point source areas to waterways. According the USDA (1989), soil erosion is the source of 80 percent of the total phosphorus and 73 percent of the total Kjeldahl nitrogen in the waterways of the U.S. Sediment also carries agricultural pesticides. Solutions to non-point source pollution problems invariably must address the problem of erosion and sediment control. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss the basic processes of soil erosion as it occurs in upland areas. Most of the discussion is focused on rill and interrill erosion. Erosion modeling concepts are discussed as a vehicle for discussing the mathematical application of erosion process information.

Last Modified: 7/24/2014
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