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Erosion occurs when the soil crust and its cover of vegetation is damaged.

The soil crust is made up of lichens, leaf litter and soil invertebrates that together protect the soil surface and increase its ability to absorb water.

The poor placement or design of tracks, dams and infrastructure, over-grazing and the compaction of the soil, often caused by the action of hard-hooved animals, and vehicles are major causes of erosion.

With no vegetation cover to slow down its movement, water that would normally soak into the soil can run-off, washing more soil away and creating new drainage lines.

Silt traps

Simple silt traps can be created by filling erosion gullies with tree branches to slow the flow of water over the ground and catch waterborne soil particles and seeds. 

Leaves eventually drop off the branches also helping to trap seeds, soil and organic matter and over time the area begins to stabilise as the soil is held together and new plants establish.

Similarly, simply cutting some bands into areas of compacted soil can help reduce water run off and allow sediment and water to pool, encouraging new plants to establish.

Volunteers inspect an erosion gully full of tree branches at Nardoo Hills in Victoria. Photo Craig Allen.
The seeds of plants caught in silt traps quickly germinate and help to further slow the movement of water and stabilise the soil.


Major earthworks are sometimes needed to remove levy banks or dams that disrupt the natural flow of water, or to repair serious erosion gullies. The Gungoandra Creek rock weir and fish way on Scottsdale Reserve is a great example.

Restoring the natural flow of water across the land surface helps to return water to creeks, rivers and natural aquifers and nourishes the soil and native habitats.

Earthworks to create the Gungoandra Creek rock weir at Scottsdale Reserve.

Erosion control case studies

BLOG 05/12/2022

Biological soil crusts

Biological soil crusts are ecosystems in miniature, protecting and building our soils. Let's take a moment to appreciate their benefits.

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BLOG 22/03/2022

Soil conservation is critical on Boolcoomatta

Hydrological rehabilitation is a focus of our work at Boolcoomatta Reserve. We recently completed works at Wiperaminga Hills to stop water and soil moving off the property quickly, and hold it longer so it's available for fauna and flora.

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BLOG 08/06/2021

Opening the door to soil

One giant void in conservation is made up of millions of tiny particles and organisms.

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BLOG 12/02/2021

What if soil could talk?

Soil: often misunderstood yet critically important to a healthy planet. Monash University Masters student Luke Richards explores how we can understand soil better.

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BLOG 26/03/2017

Erosion rehab success

Various infiltration and soil erosion mitigation techniques have been applied in some areas on Bon Bon Station Reserve over the past few years, where we've had the tools (and advice) available to start a repair process. We've some attached photos here to show the results so far.

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BLOG 08/08/2016

Soil conservation at Boolcoomatta

Soil conservation is one of the ongoing challenges we have on all our reserves, some more than others. There's been much modification of the land over the past 200 years, with new animals roaming across the land, eating things and changing the soil structure and composition. This is the case at Boolcoomatta Reserve.

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BLOG 22/04/2015

Water works on Edgbaston

We're fortunate to have recently had Dr Ken Tinley volunteer his time on Edgbaston to give advice on measures to repair and restore problematic aspects of the catchment's run off that were causing problems for the endangered red-fin blue-eye fish.

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BLOG 05/09/2014

Gungoandra Creek rock weir

There's a very exciting project that was finished at Scottsdale this week! Nearly four years in the planning, design and funding the Gungoandra Creek rock weir and fish way has been successfully constructed over the last three weeks. It's the most significant component of the erosion control plan that volunteer soil consultant Peter Fogarty has helped Scottsdale with.

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