Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/9/2011
Publication Date: 3/5/2012
Citation: Tomer, M.D. 2012. A legacy of past soil erosion. In: McDonough, D., editor. Getting into Soil and Water: Iowa Water Center. Ames, IA. p. 26-27.
Technical Abstract: This brief (775 word) article, written for a non-technical audience, describes how soil erosion during the early decades of agriculture in Iowa contributed sediment that accumulated in local stream and river valleys. A Grant Wood painting titled 'Young Corn' is used to illustrate how early cropping systems in Iowa exposed the soil to erosion. Today this accreted sediment contributes to instability of streambanks and disconnection of rivers from their floodplains. The message is that current management of rivers and sediment loads in rivers must be planned recognizing the importance of this legacy sediment, and that understanding the long term impacts of erosion should encourage us to continue efforts to reduce soil erosion today.