Soil Erosion

Maine’s #1 Water Pollutant

Soil erosion is a natural process where soil is moved by water or wind. Soil erosion is not a problem IF soil is removed at the same rate that soil is formed; however this typically is not the case. Soil erosion often occurs at a rate much greater than soil formation. In the United States, soil is eroding roughly 17 times the rate at which it is formed! Eroded soil harms aquatic life because it acts like sandpaper to fish gills and makes it hard for them to breath, and destroys their spawning habitats by filling them in. Soil erosion can affect swimming by filling in deep holes with loose sediment, or affect boating by increasing the chances of running aground or hitting underwater hazards. According to the Maine DEP, soil erosion also reduces water quality, lowers shorefront property values, increases property taxes, and causes a loss of business and jobs. The best way to reduce soil erosion is to reduce the amount of bare soil.

Soil ‘Undercover’ Tips

  • Plant shrubs and trees to create a buffer between your property and any waterway (ditch, driveway, road) to filter out pollutants.
  • Seed and mulch any bare soil on your land.
  • Repair and stabilize places where you see soil eroding.
  • Minimize the time soil is exposed when you do construction or landscaping.