A natural drainageway is graded and shaped to form a smooth, shallow channel and then planted with sod-forming grasses. The drainageway carries runoff water from the field and the grass prevents the water from forming a gulley. The vegetation may also trap some sediment washed from cropland, absorb some chemicals and nutrients in the runoff water, and provide cover for small birds and animals.
How it helps...
Grass cover protects drainageway from gully erosion
Vegetation may act as a filter, absorbing some of the chemicals and nutrients in runoff water
Vegetation provides cover for small birds and animals
The width and depth of the waterway will depend on the nature of the fields it drains.
A grade stabilization structure may be needed at the bottom of the waterway to prevent a gully from forming.
Use soil conservation measures on the fields to prevent siltation of the waterway.
Significant land reshaping might be required in some situations.
Establishing good cover quickly is critical. Tile drainage, mulching or other temporary cover might be needed until grasses are established.
Lift equipment out of the ground and shut off spray equipment when crossing the waterway.
Do not use the waterway as a roadway.
Fertilize if needed and mow periodically, but wait until after July 15 when birds are done nesting.
Be careful not to till into the edges of the waterway.
Avoid end rows planted along the waterway, because they may allow gullies to form on the waterway edge.