Slowing down erosion in areas of the Black Hills

Erosion Control
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 10:45 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Erosion in the Black Hills is a natural process that has shaped and changed the topography for thousands of years. While the process is seen as nature just following its own rules, issues come up when this natural process happens in cities and communities.

As the hills slowly transition to a rainier season erosion in some areas around Rapid City and the Black Hills experience the natural process two-fold. Sometimes the erosion in the hills comes as one of three main types: water erosion, wind erosion, and stream-bank erosion.

One of the ways that Rapid City combats this is through the use of a technique called seeding.

“Seeding any sort of organic matter that can be place on eroded areas help that vegetative cover ultimately slows down erosion,” said Rapid City Public Works director Dale Tech.

While a Rapid Creek restoration project by the Natural Resources Conservation Services is using another technique to restore sections of the creek to prevent more erosion from happening.

“Stream barbs are what they are going to be placing down to basically slow the water down. This way the water doesn’t have the villosity to cut into the bank and cause as much damage,” said Natural Resources Conservation Services conservationist Justin Boerboom.

For a city where construction related erosion is more common, erosion and sediment control is usually implemented as a way to prevent pollutants from getting into important places.

Erosion control is the effort placed with vegetative cover and such things so that soil stays where it’s at and it doesn’t wash away to begin with,” explained Tech. “Sediment control is the second part of that after the soil has washed away trying to control where it ran off to or reclaiming it.”

While this natural process can seem annoying to deal with, slowing down natural erosion is the best way to prevent it from possibly doing severe damage over time. Eventually, those minerals that are released from the rocks because of erosion in the Black Hills will continue providing nutrients to the surrounding area continuing to make the hills a healthy environment for both residents and wildlife.