Grade Control Structure

Earthen, wooden, metal, concrete or other structure built across a drainageway to prevent gully erosion.

How it works

A dam, embankment or other structure built across a grassed waterway or existing gully controls and reduces water flow. The structure drops water from one stabilized grade to another and prevents overfall gullies from advancing up a slope.""

How it helps

Grade control structures are often used at the outlet of a grassed waterway to stabilize the waterway outlet, preventing gully erosion.
Grassed, non-eroding waterways made possible with a grade control structure give better water quality, can be crossed with equipment, and
look better than non-stabilized gullies.
If it is planned to store water, a grade control structure may provide a water source and habitat for wildlife.

Planning ahead

Are adequate conservation practices installed above the structure to prevent sedimentation?
Is the planned location in the proper place to achieve the level of control you want?

Tech notes

Ask NRCS for design and construction specifications.
Obtain any necessary easements or permits.
Remove all trees and shrubs within 30 feet of the structure. *
Clear debris approximately 50 feet downstream from the spillway outlet. *


Keep burrowing animals off of earthen structures.
Repair any cracks in concrete.
Keep outlets free of debris.

* Check for local recommendations.