Understanding the Connection
How Agriculture Conservation Measures Can Protect Water Quality
- There is a range of management practices that farmers/ranchers can use to enhance and protect water quality, while sustaining the economic viability of agriculture.
- Management practices are site and crop specific, and are best chosen by the landowner/operator in conjunction with technical experts such as: Natural Resources Conservation Service, UC Cooperative Extension, Agricultural Commissioners, private agriculture specialists, and Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs).
- Three main principles can be used to help slow down or prevent nutrients, pesticides, bacteria and sediment from polluting our waterways:
- Keep adequate soil cover
- Slow run-off water down where possible
- Spread water out to prevent it from concentrating
- Examples of Conservation Management Practices include:
- Sediment basins, water detention basins, and vegetative buffer strips at the edges of fields and waterways can help filter runoff and collect sediments and associated chemicals.
- Grassed waterways and grassy field roads can carry runoff off of the farm thereby preventing erosion, trapping sediments, and retaining nutrients.
- Underground water outlets and furrow alignment can direct excess runoff from slopes to sediment basins for settling.
- Diversions (earthen berms) can be used to direct runoff into natural channels, vegetated slopes or sediment basins.
- Cover cropping, critical area plantings, and mulching can reduce soil loss from the fields.
- Addressing issues of water quality requires a long-term collaborative effort among all of the people who live and work within the regionís watersheds.