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Waterway Maintenance

Waterway Maintenance

by Craig T. Scheuerman, Civil Engineering Technician
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Hays, Kansas

As a landowner or operator you are responsible for the maintenance of grassed waterways on your land.

The operation of the waterway is automatic, so no operation procedures are required. In order to maintain the automatic operation, the waterway must be inspected periodically and any damage repaired in a timely manner.

Maintenance includes repairing any rills or gullies caused by water flows or removing silt bars in the bottom. Carry out earthwork to repair erosion damage or remove sediment deposits as soon as possible. Re-vegetate disturbed areas.

A healthy vigorous stand of grass must be maintained to keep the waterway bottom in good condition. Reseed or re-vegetate areas with a poor stand of grass or areas damaged by erosion as soon as possible. Restore eroded areas before reseeding.

Trees and brush growing in the waterway channel are to be cut or sprayed. Only those chemicals approved for use near water should be used. Timely removal of trees and brush will prevent damage caused by roots and shading of vegetation.

Burrowing animals should be dislodged by approved methods. The disturbed soil should be replaced and the areas re-vegetated.

Much of the maintenance work can be performed by the operator, but there may be periodic or restorative type activities that will require the services of professional contractors. A work plan should be prepared in either case.

For more information about maintenance of grassed waterways, please contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service office or conservation district office located at your local county USDA Service Center. To learn more about NRCS, visit the Kansas NRCS Web site at

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