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Grade Stabilization Structures

Solution: Grade Stabilization Structures

Grade Stabilization Structure:  An earthen, concrete or other structure built across a drainageway to prevent gully erosion.

How it WorksPhoto of a grade stabilization structure.

A dam or embankment built across a gully or grass waterway drops water to a lower elevation while protecting the soil from gully erosion or scouring. Structures are typically either a drop spillway or a small dam and basin with a pipe outlet.


  • 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.

Questions?  Ask a Conservationist!