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Grade Stabilization Structure

Drainageways in fields and pastures can form gullies and waterfalls that cause soil erosion.

Rob Sampson is a water management engineer for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. He says a grade stabilization structure is used to stop erosion when the slope and water flow are too much for the soil to withstand. It can be any size and shape, and is made out of a variety of materials.

"A typical structure that Natural Resources Conservation Service would design would be made out of a combination of steel plate or poured concrete, and would probably have some graded rocks to stabilize the sides of the structure and maybe the bottom of the structure," says Sampson.

Sampson says waterfalls and erosion points are often excellent spots for a grade stabilization structure.

It's not unusual for a channel to have several structures in place. They give the water a place to expend energy.

"It might be a little rock-lined basin, or it might be the lower end of a concrete box," he says. "Once that energy is dissipated, the stream has to start gaining energy all over again. Then the next time it gains too much energy and begins a waterfall, that's the time for another drop structure on downstream."

Sampson highly recommends having these structures installed by a qualified professional. If they're put in the wrong place or at the wrong height, problems can develop that you didn't see coming.

Learn more about grade stabilization structures