Human activity and development destroy topsoil.  When topsoil goes, so does the soil’s natural ability to withstand the ravages of wind and water.  The result is erosion, and the by-product is sedimentation.
The wash and settling of soil particles reduces storage capacity of reservoirs.  Sediment clogs drainage ditches and navigation channels.  It buries fertile bottomland in sand.
This damage can make flooding worse. The cost of supplying drinking water and using water for generating electricity rises.
The USDA says sediment is “the greatest pollutant of waters in the U.S. by volume.”  Sedimentation is a costly thing to fix.  Mitigating the impact of sedimentation in the U.S. alone is in the billions of dollars.
Of course, humans aren’t responsible for all sediment loss.  Natural forces also erode stream banks and change shorelines.  But people do more than their share.
By one estimate, as much as two-thirds of sediment loss may result from the activities of people.
Compost use cuts sedimentation
Compost use reduces the impacts of farming, logging, development and other land disturbance.  It can also temper nature’s contribution to the problem.
Compost formulated for erosion control absorbs both rain energy and water.  When compost blankets are used, the amount of soil retained approaches 100 percent.  Water runoff is reduced by as much as 50 percent.
The place to focus sediment control is not on a river bed or estuary floor after the damage has already been done.  The best strategy is to manage sediment at the source — land disturbance activities.
Let compost play a central role in sediment prevention or soil restoration strategies.