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60 Ways Farmers Can Protect  Surface Water
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18. Install Terraces

Terraced Field Long slopes give runoff water a chance to build up momentum and energy, increasing its power to slice into the land. One of the best ways to shorten long slopes is with terraces.

Terraces are embankments, channels, or combinations of embankments and channels constructed across a field slope. They channel runoff water into a stable outlet, where it is carried safely away.

Terraces with Waterway Outlet Some terraces have a grassed waterway outlet. . .
Terraces with Tile Outlets . . . while other terraces channel runoff water to a storage section where it is released slowly through a surface inlet and underground pipe or tile.
Broad Based Terraces There are three basic types of terraces. With the broad-base terrace, all slopes are designed to be farmed. These terraces are used on long, uniform, gentle slopes up to 5 or 6 percent. Because the entire terrace can be farmed, make sure the terrace slopes are not too steep for your equipment.
Grassed Back-style Terraces With a grassed-back-slope terrace, the back slope is graded to a steep pitch and grassed. The front slope, which is farmed, is flattened and is usually the width of your planter. Consider grassed-back-slope terraces on slopes of 6 to 15 percent.
Narrow Base Terraces With narrow-based terraces, the entire ridge is grassed instead of just the back slope. The ridge is narrow, so only a small area of the field is removed from production. Narrow-based terraces disturb less soil than the other two types of terraces; therefore, they are often the best choice when topsoil is shallow and subsoils less productive.

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