Farm Progress

Saturated buffers and impact of multiple best management practices will be studied by U-M researchers.

June 23, 2017

2 Min Read
PRESERVING QUALITY: Water quality research projects funded by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture evaluate the effectiveness of ag’s best management practices and target them to sensitive areas that are farmed.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has selected two projects to receive Clean Water Fund research contracts.

Thirteen proposals, totaling more than $2.8 million in requested funds, were submitted. The two selected projects total $556,703.

Gary Sands, University of Minnesota Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, Twin Cities, was awarded funding for his research project, “Improving Design, Performance and Implementation of Saturated Buffers.” Saturated buffers have only recently been used to remove nitrogen from subsurface drainage water at the edge of agricultural fields. At this time, there are few publications that document their performance and use as a drainage best management practice. There are also limited resources to assist with design planning.

Sands’ research seeks to increase both the effectiveness and use of saturated buffers as a BMP to reduce nitrogen loss from artificially drained agricultural lands. The project will develop a planning tool to enable local professionals and conservation staff to integrate key site information into the decision-making process for siting and designing saturated buffers.

Jeffrey Strock, U-M’s Southwest Research and Outreach Center, Lamberton, was awarded funding for his research project, “Integrated Landscape Management for Agricultural Production and Water Quality.” Strock’s project establishes a site where the impact of multiple, combined BMPs can be measured. Nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment will be monitored individually and cumulatively from in-field, edge-of-field and in-stream BMPs. Research data collected will be used to determine the hydrologic, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment reduction potential of these integrated strategies and their potential for meeting Minnesota's Nutrient Reduction Strategy goals. Additionally, the project will demonstrate the ability to meet the dual goals of maintaining farm productivity while improving watershed conditions and water quality.

MDA's research program
Since 2008, the MDA has announced eight requests for research proposals. Any organization, research entity or individual may apply for these funds. Once all the proposals are received, a committee comprised of state agency and non-agency representatives with expertise in agricultural water quality and quantity issues reviews the proposals and selects those that will receive funding. A Technical Advisory Committee, comprised of subject matter experts, provides input on projects to ensure they produce relevant and useful information for a diverse group of stakeholders.

Goals of the research program include:

• Identify underlying processes that affect water quality
• Evaluate the effectiveness of agricultural BMPs
• Develop technologies to target BMPs to critical areas of the landscape

Additional information is online at MDA Clean Water Fund research.

Source: MDA


Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like