A strip of dense herbaceous vegetation such as grass, trees or shrubs that filters runoff and removes contaminants before they reach water bodies or water sources, such as wells. Filter strips are most effective when used in combination with other agronomic or structural conservation practices.
How it helps
The vegetation slows water flow and allow contaminants like sediment, chemicals and nutrients to collect in grass, trees and shrubs.
Filter strips improve water quality for fish and other aquatic life.
Grass, trees and shrubs provide cover for small birds, animals and pollinators.
Ground cover reduces soil erosion.
The vegetative strips move row crop operations further from a stream.
Are adequate soil conservation measures installed above the filter strip?
Are plants adapted to your soil type?
Have you selected the correct plant species for the control you need?
Consider including species beneficial for pollinators and butterflies such as milkweed.
Filter strips are most effective on slopes of 5% or less.
Filter strips for cropland must be at least 15 feed wide. Steeper slopes require wider strips.
A minimum of 50 feet width is required for filter strips on forestland.
Do not use a filter strip as a roadway.
Filter strips will be less effective under snow or during frozen conditions.
Avoid drift when applying herbicides on surround cropland.
Controlled grazing may be allowed if filter strips are dry and firm.
Repair rills and small channels that may have developed.
Control grazing if livestock have access to filter strips.
Mow (and harvest if possible) grasses several times per year to encourage dense vegetative growth. For ground nesting wildlife, avoid mowing during nesting periods.
Restoration may be needed if sediment accumulates.