Control of sediment has become increasingly important as an element of many water quality improvement programs. An analytical method using the universal soil loss equation and linear programming to determine the cost-effectiveness of alternative sediment control practices is developed. Applications of this method to four case study farms and a hypothetical watershed are analyzed. The analyses illustrate the need for developing priorities so as to achieve greatest reduction in sediment losses per dollar of cost. The costs per unit of sediment reduction vary greatly with area, soil, and strategy or technique used.