Vegetative barriers are permanent strips of stiff, dense
vegetation along the general contour of slopes or across concentrated flow
Vegetative barriers are used to reduce sheet and rill
erosion, reduce ephemeral gully erosion, manage water flow, stabilize steep
slopes, and trap sediment.
This practice applies to all eroding areas, including
cropland, grazing land, forest land, farmsteads, mined land, and construction
sites. Other site considerations include the need for a suitable outlet below
the barrier and the capacity to readily establish adapted perennial vegetation.
Vegetative barriers are most effective on slopes of less than 10 percent.
Resource Management System
Vegetative barriers are normally established as part of a
conservation management system to address natural resource conservation needs
and landowner objectives. For this practice to be fully effective, it should be
installed with other components of a resource management system that reduces
sheet and rill erosion, such as conservation crop rotation, residue management,
and contour farming.
Vegetative barriers provide excellent opportunities to
improve wildlife habitat for some species by creating travel lanes that connect
important habitat areas or by providing in-field escape cover. Wildlife benefits
are enhanced by using native species or other adapted species that provide
wildlife food and cover. The conservation practice standard for Upland Wildlife
Habitat Management in the Field Office Technical Guide can provide guidance for
choosing species that meet wildlife objectives.
Operations and maintenance
Vegetative barriers must be inspected periodically to assure
no voids develop in the protective strips of vegetation. Shape and replant
washouts and rills as necessary to maintain plant density. Control spreading of
barrier species into cropped areas. Control weeds in barrier strips so they do
not become a seed source for adjacent cropland. Although vegetative barriers
would usually receive adequate nutrients from fertilizer applied to adjacent
cropland, they may need supplemental fertilizer to maintain adequate plant
vigor. Control grazing and equipment traffic as necessary to protect barriers.
Site-specific requirements are listed on the specifications
sheet. Additional provisions are entered on the job sketch sheet. Specifications
are prepared in accordance with the NRCS Field Office Technical Guide and the
Vegetative Barrier practice standard (601).