Sustainable Production in the Upper Midwest Depends on
Adoption of Drainage Water Management
Harmful algal blooms lead to hypoxia in Lake Erie
The unique soil and climate of the Upper Midwest (Upper Mississippi and
Great Lakes Basins) provide the resources for bountiful agricultural production.
DWM research/demo site layout examples
As agricultural producers strive to meet the demands of producing grain
and biomass feedstocks for food, feed, renewable energy generation, and
alternative fuels, more production will be required from each unit of land.
Agricultural drainage (both surface and subsurface drainage) is essential
for achieving economically viable crop production and management. Drainage
practices alter the hydrology; shortening the travel distance and travel
time for infiltrating water to move from the landscape into the stream
networks, and increasing the volume of water moving to the streams.
Drainage water management concept
Consequently the water interacts less with the mineral and organic components
of the soil profile and there is less opportunity for biological and chemical
interactions to process dissolved nutrients carried with the drainage water
to the streams.
Historically these drainage systems were managed as free drainage systems
allowing all the water that reached the drain to flow freely to the receiving
stream. An innovative concept, drainage water management, is the most promising
approach for reduction of drainage volume and associated soluble nutrients
DWM research/demo sites in Ohio
Research and demonstration sites have been initiated throughout Ohio to
introduce the concept to farmers and determine operational protocols.