Soil erosion rates in west central Saskatchewan
de Jong, E.
Peer Reviewed StatusNon-Peer Reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
Soil erosion trends and rates in five Rural Municipalities (RMs) of west central Saskatchewan are assessed using Cesium-137 as an indicator of soil redistribution within the landscape. The study area is located around Unity, and includes the RMs of Reford, Tramping Lake, Grass Lake, Buffalo, and Round Valley. Native, non-eroded soils across the study area were sampled and analyzed for Cesium-137 to determine a baseline value for non-eroded soils (2877 Bq-2) which was used to predict erosion rates on cultivated soils since the early 1960's. Cultivated hillslopes across the area were also sampled for Cesium-137 redistribution and the Cesium-137 values compared to the non-eroded baseline value. Mean hillslope soil erosion rates were estimated as 23 +/- 8 tonnes ha-1 yr-1 for 0-3 % gradient class, 27 +/- 9 tonnes ha-1 yr-1 for 3-10 % gradient class, and 48 +/-16 tonnes ha-1 yr-1 for >10 % gradient class, representing a soil removal of 3.8, 4.4, and 7.8 cm respectively since 1960. These soil losses represent between 27 and 64 % of the topsoil and between 7 and 30 % of the solum present within the eroding upslope areas today. These erosion rates occur over approximately 2/3 of the cultivated study area. High rates of soil erosion over such a large portion of the landscape are alarming, considering that the accepted tolerable soil loss is 11.2 to 4.5 tonnes ha-1 yr-1 (Wischmeier and Smith,1978). Long-term average wind (WEE) and water (USLE) erosion estimates did not equal the Cesium-137 erosion rates.
Part OfSoils and Crops Workshop
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