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Grade Control Structure

Grade Control StructureA grade control structure is an earthen, wooden, concrete, or other type of structure built across a drainageway that prevents gully erosion.

How it helps...

  • Grade control structures are often used at the outlet of a grassed waterway to stabilize the waterway outlet, preventing gully erosion
  • Grassed, non-eroding waterways made possible with a grade control structure provide better water quality, can be easily crossed with equipment, and look better than non-stabilized gullies
  • If designed to store water, a grade control structure may provide a water source and habitat for wildlife


  • Soil Erosion
  • Water Quality
  • Wildlife


  • Pipe outlet structures are typically used if the area upstream of the dam can temporarily hold most of the water from a storm. Drop structures are used where the area upstream of the site has minimal storage capacity.
  • Grade stabilization structures can be expensive to install and should always be designed by a qualified person.
  • If planned to store water, a grade stabilization structure can also provide a water source and habitat for wildlife.
  • Adequate soil conservation practices are needed upstream of the structure to avoid sedimentation.
  • Check to see if any permits are required.
  • Remove trees and shrubs within 30 feet of the structure.
  • Keep burrowing animals away from earthen structures.
  • Repair cracks in concrete.
  • Keep inlets, outlets and the area 50 feet downstream of the outlet free of debris.