With an increase in weather extremes, including heavy rain, our land in Nebraska is prone to increased erosion. This erosion often presents in the form of ephemeral gullies.

An ephemeral gully is a somewhat shallow, but wide drainage ditch that naturally occurs in a field. It is larger than a rill and smaller than a gully. Ephemeral gullies often occur as a result of multiple rills coming together and forming a tree-like pattern of channels in the soil.

Taking care of soil is an investment in the land. Farmers know this, which is why they spend time and money amending soil in preparation for next year’s crop. However, ignoring ephemeral gullies and tilling through them counteracts good work. This doesn’t effectively mitigate the problem. When topsoil is tilled over an ephemeral gully, the loose soil is given a path to run off during the next rain event.

To assist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has developed a pilot project through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. This project provides financial assistance for implementing conservation practices, such as cover crops, no-till, buffer strips, terraces and more, which work to prevent recurring ephemeral gullies.

Farmers who have received variances as a result of conservation compliance reviews in the past two years are given priority in the application process, but the funding is available to any Nebraska farmer with an ephemeral gully on their land. The application deadline is July 19. Contact your local NRCS office to learn more.

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