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Solution: Terrace

Terrace:  An earthen embankment that follows the contour of a hillside, breaking a long slope into shorter segments and intercepting the flow of water.


How it Works

Photo of a terrace.

Terraces serve as small dams on a hillside, intercepting runoff water and guiding it to a safe outlet. Some terraces are designed to collect water and temporarily store it until it can filter into the ground or be released through a stable outlet. Other terraces are designed as a channel to slow runoff and carry it to a stable outlet such as a grass waterway. Terraces can greatly reduce erosion on steep slopes, and the permanent grass on front or back slopes serves as nesting habitat.


  • Terraces are expensive to construct. They may be practical where rotations or residue management are insufficient for erosion control.
  • Terraces are designed to control runoff from a 10-year, 24-hour storm.
  • Terraces are best suited to fields with a uniform, moderate slope.
  • Other soil conservation practices may need to be used with terraces to prevent sedimentation of the channels.
  • Cropland widths between terraces are designed to match planting equipment width.


  • Remove accumulated sediment from channels and around pipe intakes.
  • Repair sections of the terrace embankment or channels that have eroded or have settled excessively; reseed and fertilize to maintain good vegetation.
  • Control burrowing animals, weeds, brush and trees.
  • Do not drive on or over terraces.
  • Avoid farming close to intakes, and repair or replace damaged intakes.

Questions?  Ask a Conservationist!