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photo of a diversionDiversion is an earthen embankment similar to a terrace that directs runoff water from a specific area. A diversion keeps excess runoff away from areas with concentrated pollutants such as barnyards or feedlots and fields with easily eroded soils. A diversion at the base of a slope can help keep bottom lands drier and more productive. Similar to terraces, the permanent vegetation on a diversion provides habitat for birds and small animals.

How it helps...

  • Reduces soil erosion on lowlands by catching runoff water and preventing it from reaching farmland below
  • Vegetation in the diversion channel filters runoff water, improving water quality
  • Vegetation provides cover for small birds and animals
  • Allows better crop growth on bottomland soils


  • Profits
  • Soil Erosion
  • Water Quality
  • Wildlife


  • A diversion and its outlet should be able to handle the peak runoff from a 10-year, 24-hour storm. (A diversion protecting animal lots or manure storage areas should handle the 25-year, 24-hour storm.)
  • Suitable outlets for a diversion include a grass waterway, an underground tile outlet or a grade stabilization structure. Vegetated outlets should be constructed before the diversion is constructed.
  • The top of a diversion should be at least four feet wide.
  • In erodible areas, soil conservation measures will be needed to keep the diversion from filling with sediment.
  • Consider a filter strip above the diversion to trap sediment and protect the diversion.
  • Keep outlets clear of sediment and debris.
  • Maintain vegetation on the diversion ridge; fertilize as needed.
  • Control burrowing animals in the diversion.
  • Do not use the diversion as a road.
  • Delay mowing until after July 15 to protect ground-nesting birds.