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Filter Strip

Learn about filter strips, including primary Field Office Technical Guide practices, primary purposes, key design elements, and tree/shrub species requirements.


A strip or area of vegetation for removing sediment, organic matter, and other pollutants from runoff and waste water.

Some Primary FOTG Practices for this System

  • Filter Strip (393)
  • Conservation Crop Rotation (330)
  • Stripcropping, Contour (585)
  • Contour Farming (330)
  • Residue Management (329, 344)
  • Diversion (362), Terrace (600), Grassed Waterway (412)
  • Access Control (472)
  • Fencing (382)
  • Prescribed Grazing (528)
  • Pasture and Hay Planting (512)

Primary Purposes

To remove sediment and other pollutants from runoff by filtration, deposition, infiltration, or plant uptake.

Key Design Elements

Strips are planted cross-slope or on the contour downhill from the source of sediment or pollutants. They must be sufficiently wide to achieve primary purposes.

Tree/Shrub Species Requirements

  • Adapted to the soil and climate of the planting site.
  • Tolerant of sediment deposition and pollutant-laden runoff.
  • Moderate to aggressive development to occupy the site quickly.
  • Resistance to pests and herbicides.