Introduction to Controlling Wind Erosion on Rangeland, Natural Areas and Unpaved Surfaces

This chapter will discuss the common practices applied to all grazing lands, natural areas, and unpaved surfaces. It will also include disturbed areas that do not succinctly fit into any land type, like abandoned cropland, as the treatment will closely resemble that of degraded grazing lands. Natural areas include lands reserved for wildlife and associated agricultural lands that are difficult to farm or graze, such as pivot corners and on-farm transportation corridors.

For simplicity’s sake, this section will discuss wind erosion control on grazing lands as a collective that includes rangeland, pastureland, woodlands, forestland, and grassland. Where treatments differ depending on the land type, that clarification will be made. Rangeland is considered grazed dryland consisting of native and/or naturalized vegetation that is only rarely renovated or otherwise altered. Pastureland includes grazed land that may or may not be irrigated, is regularly renovated or seeded in a cyclical pattern, and may include native vegetation but also could be entirely composed of introduced forages. Woodlands are generally open-canopied lands that dominated with trees and shrubs.  Forestland includes a denser component of tall trees whose makeup is primarily evergreens. Grasslands are a sub-component of rangeland and pastureland where the soils, climate and position on the landscape are especially suited to grasses.

The set of practices that show a positive effect for wind erosion on the land uses above, as assessed in the Conservation Practice Physical Effects (CCPE) database, are listed below with their corresponding CPPE value.

NRCS Practice Name and Practice Code CPPE Value for Wind Erosion
Access Control 472 1
Anionic Polyacrylamide (PAM) Erosion Control 450 2
Brush Management 314 1
Critical Area Planting 342 5
Dust Control on Unpaved Roads and Surfaces 373 5
Forage and Biomass Planting 512 1
Grazing Land Mechanical Treatment 548 1
Heavy Use Area Protection 561 2
Herbaceous Weed Control 315 4
Land Reclamation, Landslide Treatment 453 2
Prescribed Burning 338 2
Prescribed Grazing 528 4
Range Planting 550 4
Restoration of Rare or Declining Natural Communities 643 2
Riparian Forest Buffer 391 2
Riparian Herbaceous Cover 390 2
Road/Trail/Landing Closure and Treatment 654 1
Silvopasture Establishment 381 3
Trails and Walkways 575 1
Tree/Shrub Establishment 612 5
Water Well 642 2
Watering Facility 614 2

Figure 7-1. Conservation practices that are recognized to address wind erosion on rangeland.