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Land Stewardship - Best Management Practices

Ausable Bayfield Conservation works with landowners to provide technical advice and to connect you with financial incentives  to implement best management practices on your property.

Visit our grants and funding page to find out more about funding opportunities for you:

Contact our stewardship staff today to find out more or for a site visit:

For best management practices at home and work please visit our watershed community's Conservation Strategy page with a What You Can Do page and a What Your Community Group Can do page:

For best management practices at your business visit:

For best management practices on your farm or rural property continue reading:

Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs)  
Grassed Waterways

Grassed waterways are vegetation strips which are properly sized to handle a large amount of water and move it to an  appropriate outlet without causing soil erosion. 

Grassed waterways are broad, shallow, permanently vegetated and help to convey water to a proper drain or outlet during  rainfall, high flows or spring melts. 

To find out more visit  Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) – Grassed Waterways.

Berms or Water and Sediment Control Basins (WASCOBs)

A water and sediment control basin is an earthen structure or berm across a natural drainageway which intercepts runoff and  allows sedimentation. Water is ponded for a desired amount of time (based on crops, etc.) and slowly released through an  inlet to a tile system which directs the water to an appropriate outlet. WASCOBs are used to address rill or gully erosion  from a watershed of less than 20 hectares (ha) or 50 acres (ac). 


Windbreaks are one or more rows of trees planted to reduce the effects of wind on soil erosion. 

To learn more visit these links:

Fragile Land Retirement

Fragile agricultural lands are lands which are tilled or pastured lands that are prone to erosion from water, tillage, and  wind. These lands may be steeply sloped, flood plains, or areas where groundwater is recharged. 

Agricultural production on fragile lands has limited profit, degrades soil structure, and can negatively impact the  surrounding water quality and soil health. There are multiple options for retiring fragile lands including tree planting,  prairie meadow, or wetland habitat restoration. 

For more information visit these links:

Cover Crops

Cover crops are important in maintaining soil quality and productivity on agricultural lands. Cover crops reduce soil  erosion, add organic matter, reduce nutrient loss and compaction, improve soil fertility and soil structure, and provide  water management benefits. 

To find our more visit this link:

Manure Storage Decommissioning 

To properly abandon a manure storage facility, it should be completely emptied. 

Proper decommissioning will remove  significant sources of nutrients, pathogens and other potential pollutants as well as protect the farm’s well water. It is  highly recommended that a certified professional undertake this work to ensure it is done properly and safely. Abandoning  manure storage or other agricultural waste impoundments, treatment lagoons or liquid storage facilities means permanently  removing facilities that are no longer used or can no longer serve their intended purpose in an environmentally sound  manner.  

Learn more at:

Well Decommissioning

Unused and un-maintained wells threaten the groundwater that supplies your well and possibly your neighbour's well too. 

Properly decommissioning the well is a process of properly plugging and sealing. It is highly recommended that a certified  professional undertake this work to ensure that it is done properly and safely. A well that is no longer used or maintained  can become a direct pipeline to local groundwater in aquifers.  

Find out more at:

Clean Water Diversion

Clean water diversion is reducing the amount of precipitation that travels directly through the farmyard and can be  contaminated with manure, chemicals or animal or machine contact. Eavestrough installation, berms or land contouring, and  grassed waterways are all ways to divert and direct clean water on a different pathway.

Livestock Restriction Fencing

Livestock along watercourses damage riparian habitats by trampling banks and causing erosion. Livestock grazing with  unrestricted access to watercourses, wetlands, and other water bodies can have detrimental effects to the surrounding quality of water. Animal manure in a watercourse is a source of bacteria and other microorganisms which can cause health  problems for animals and people.