water & soil conservation

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  • 1.

2. Nature of Water & Soil

  • Most of the Earths surface is covered with water.
  • Our bodies & plants & animals are about 90% water.
  • We can only survive a few days without potable water.
    • Potable Drinkable, free of harmful chemicals and organisms.
  • Water is an essential nutrient for all plants & animals
  • Water transports nutrients & carries away waste products.
  • Water cools the body

3. The Universal Solvent

  • Water has been described as the Universal Solvent
    • Universal Solvent material that dissolves or otherwise changes most other materials
  • Nearly every substance will rust, corrode, decompose, dissolve, or yield to the presence of water.
  • Some minerals in water are healthful or desirable; others are toxic & undesirable chemicals or minerals.

4. Fresh vs. Salt Water

  • Most water on the Earth is not fresh water & not suitable for humans to drink or use except for transportation.
    • Fresh water water that flows from the land to oceans and contains little or no salt.
    • Domestic Use household use.
    • Tidewater water that flows up the mouth of a river as the ocean tide rises or comes in
  • Salt water is not fit for animal consumption or plant irrigation.

5. The Water Cycle

  • Moisture evaporates from land, plant leaves, freshwater sources and the seas to form clouds
  • Clouds remain in the air until warm air masses meet cold air masses.
  • Change causes water vapor to change to a liquid and fall as rain, sleet or snow.
  • This is known as the water cycle.
    • Water Cycle cycling of water among water sources, atmosphere, and surface areas.

6. 7. Land

  • Land provides solid foundations for buildings, nutrition & support for plants and space for work & play and storage for water.
  • Much of the Earths crust is too rocky or has an incorrect balance of nutrients for crop production.
    • Deserts areas with continuous, severe water shortages
    • Irrigation addition of water to plants to supplement the water provided by rain or snow.

8. Relationships of Land and Water

  • Precipitation formation of rain and snow.
  • Evaporation changing from a liquid to a vapor or gas.
  • Watershed large land area in which water is absorbed from rain or melting snow, and from which water drains as it emerges from springs and moves into streams, rivers, ponds and lakes.
    • Acts as a storage system by absorbing excess water and releasing it slowly throughout the year.

9. Relationships of Land and Water

  • Land serves as a container or reservoir for water.
  • Water soaks down into the soil and forms a water table.
    • Water table level below which soil is saturated or filled with water.
  • Water may run out onto the surface at a lower elevation in the forms of springs.
  • Water moves upward in the soil from the water table to provide water for plant roots.

10. Relationships of Land and Water

  • Types of Ground Water
    • Saturated when all spaces or pores are filled with water.
    • Free or Gravitational Water water that drains out of soil after it has been wetted.
      • Feeds wells and springs.
    • Capillary Water water held by soil particles and available for plant use
    • Hygroscopic Water water that is held too tightly for plant roots to absorb.

11. Major Threats to Water Quality

  • Chemicals
  • Manure
  • Household products paint, varnish, household cleaning products.
  • Excessive amounts of fertilizer
  • Pesticides
  • Gas, fuel or oil dumping


  • Improvement of water quality can be achieved by:
    • Proper Land Management
    • Careful Water Storage and Handling
    • Appropriate Use of Water


  • Save clean water
  • Dispose of household products carefully
  • Care for lawns, gardens and farmland carefully
  • Practice sensible pest control
  • Control water runoff from lands, gardens, feedlots, fields
  • Control soil erosion
  • Avoid spillage or dumping of gasoline, fuel, or oil on the ground or in storm drains
  • Keep chemical spills from running or seeping away
  • Properly maintain your septic system


  • Land erosion is a serious problem worldwide.
    • Erosion wearing away.
  • Both wind and water are capable of wearing away soil
  • Extensive damage from soil erosion comprises the food and fiber production capabilities of large nations


  • Soil scientists report it takes 300-500 years for nature to develop 1 inch of topsoil from bedrock.
  • There are 50 acres of tropical rain forest lost every minute through slash & burn
  • Amount of soil dumped into the Mississippi River Delta every day would fill a freight train 150 miles long.


  • Each year, about 1.6 billion tons of soil are worn away from 417 million acres of US farmland and deposited into lake, rivers and reservoirs
  • According to the USDA, 41 million acres (10%) of the nations cropland are highly eroded at rates of 50 or more tons per acre per year
  • Growing Concern Contamination of groundwater
    • Aquifer water-bearing rock formation


  • 1 Acre of Highly Erodible Soil
  • You would have to load and carry
  • 1 30 lb Bucket of Soil
  • Every 30 Seconds
  • Working 8 hours per day
  • For over 4 Days
  • To Replace the amount of soil lost from
  • 1 acre in one year

18. Examples of Erosion

  • Grand Canyon
  • Chimney Rock
  • Scotts Bluff

19. SHEET EROSION Sheet erosion removal of soil from broad areas of the land. 20. GULLY EROSION Gully erosion removal of soil to form relatively narrow and deep trenches known as gullies. 21. RILL EROSION

    • Rill erosion loss of soil on sloping land where small channels are formed by running water

22. Conservation Practices

  • Cover crop close-growing crop planted to protect the soil and prevent erosion.
  • Mulch material placed on soil to break the fall of raindrops (preventing erosion), prevent weeds from growing, or improve the appearance of the area.

23. Conservation Practices

  • No-till seed is planted directly into the residue of the previous crop, without exposing the soil surface.
  • Conservation tillage techniques of soil preparation, planting, and cultivation that disturb the soil the least, leaving the maximum amount of plant residue on the surface.
    • Plant residueplant material that remains when a plant dies or is harvested.

24. Conservation Practices

  • Contour practice operations such as plowing, disking, planting, cultivating, and harvesting across the slope and on the level.
    • Contour level line around a hill.
  • Strip cropping alternating strips of row crops with strips of close-growing crops.

25. Conservation Practices

  • Crop rotation planting of different crops in a given field every year or every several years.
  • Grass waterway strip of grass growing in the low area of a field where water can gather and cause erosion.

26. Conservation Practices

  • Terrace soil or wall structure built across the slope to capture water and move it safely to areas where it will not cause erosion.


  • Keep soil covered with growing plants
  • Cover the soil with mulch
  • Utilize conservation tillage methods
  • Use contour practices in farming, nursery production and gardening
  • Use strip cropping on hilly land
  • Rotate crops
  • Increase organic matter in the soil
    • Organic matter dead plant and animal tissue that originates from living sources such as plants, animals, insects, and microbes.


  • Provide the correct balance of lime and fertilizer


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