Topsoil loss from ephemeral gullies on highly erodible land is the focus of a new USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service pilot project.

NRCS in Idaho will accept applications through July 19 from landowners seeking financial and technical assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

Advanced channel erosion can create a classical gully that can carry substantial water after rains, and is too wide and deep to till, according to the National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory. Tilling and plowing are possible over ephemeral gullies, which concentrate flow from upslope and can be more transitory. Creating a grass waterway where ephemeral gullies form is one potential solution.

“Ephemeral gullies can impede land productivity,” NRCS State Conservationist for Idaho Curtis Elke said in a news release. “Fixing them is a better long-term solution than discing them because stopping these gullies through conservation practices keeps topsoil on the farm.

Applications received after July 19 will be considered for subsequent funding cycles, NRCS Idaho said.

EQIP helps agricultural producers complete resource conservation projects and make conservation-related management changes to their farms or ranches. Participation, which is voluntary, helps private landowners and operators defray costs.

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