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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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The Ohio State University
The Soil Drainage Research Unit is located at Ohio State University. The University provides office and laboratory space and utilities as well as land resources for field research. There is a strong and effective collaborative relationship between OSU and ARS scientists.


Defiance Agricultural Research Association
This county based group provides land and farming services for the primary site where our drainage water recycling research is conducted. Other sites are located on land owned and managed by Fred and Bill Shininger (Fulton County) and the Marsh Foundation (Van Wert County). The Maumee Valley RC&D and the Defiance County Extension provides administrative support and assistance for this research.


Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District/Upper Big Walnut Creek Watershed Partnership
Numerous land owners within the watershed provide land for our research activities and instruments for monitoring water quality. We also get assistance from the NRCS staff. The SWCD and the Partnership promote and support our research within the watershed community.


Water Quality Monitoring From an Intensively Managed Watershed Scale Turfgrass System in Duluth, Minnesota (U.S. Golf Association)
The objective of this cooperative research project is to continue a watershed scale surface water quality (nitrate, ammonia, phosphate, chlorothalonil, and its metabolites) monitoring project. The nutrient portion of this study was initiated in June of 2002. The monitoring program will capture the hydrologic and environmental response of watershed scale turf system from cultural, chemical, and mechanical processes.


Development and Compilation of Conservation and Farming Practices and Landscape Features Data Sets for the ACWF Source Water Protection Research Project (Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District)
The objective is to create and make available data sets that characterize the spatial and temporal applications of conservation practices, farming practices, land improvement practices, and land use patterns; and to precisely describe the soil-vegetation-landscape features and boundaries as well as manmade structures in the small catchments being monitored in the associated ACWF source water protection research project.


Amount, Timing, and Quality of Water Coming From Management (Controlled) and Unmanaged Drainage Systems in Illinois (The University of Illinois)
The objective is to quantify and compare the amount, timing, and quality of water discharging from managed and unmanaged drainage systems in Illinois.

DARA Managed Drainage Research Project (Defiance Agricultural Research Association)
The broad objective of this cooperative research project is to compare the economic and environmental effects of managed and unmanaged subsurface drainage for the very poorly drained lakebed soils in northwest Ohio. Limited research data collected under different soil and climatic regimes indicates that managed subsurface drainage can reduce annual pollutant loads delivered to streams in the drainage water. These preliminary results have resulted in the establishment of the Agricultural Drainage Management Systems Task Force within the US Department of Agriculture to promote the adoption and further study of this drainage water management practice within the Midwest. Before this practice can be incorporated on a large scale, there is a clear need for more research sites throughout the Midwest U.S. that quality the environmental benefits of managed subsurface drainage. The Defiance Agricultural Research Association (DARA) Test Plots #2, #3, #4, and #5, with modification, are an ideal location for comparing managed drainage versus conventional unmanaged drainage, and in addition, investigating managed drainage design criteria and operational strategies needed to achieve the dual goals of improved water quality and good crop yields. This cooperative research project will enhance and support the contributions of the USDA/ARS Soil Drainage Research Unit to the Agricultural Drainage Management Systems (ADMS) Task Force goals.


Economic Analysis of the Benefits of Conservation Practice Adoption in the Upper Big Walnut Watershed (The Ohio State University)
The objective of this cooperative research project are to conduct economic analysis of the benefits of conservation practice adoption in the Upper Big Walnut Creek Watershed in central Ohio. This will enhance and support the contributions of the ARS Soil Drainage Research Unit to the ARS Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP), Objective 4, which is to develop and apply policy-planning tools to aid selection and placement of conservation practices or optimize profits, environmental quality, and conservation program efficiency.


Conservation Effects Assessment Project - Columbus
Principal focus of the CEAP effort is to produce a national assessment of environmental benefits of conservation programs to support policy decision and program implementation. NRCS.


Pesticide and Nutrient Management Practice Implementation in Upper Big Walnut Creek CEAP (Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District)
The broad objectives of this cooperative research project are to assess the watershed scale impact of implementing pesticide and nutrient management practices on stream water quality within the Upper Big Walnut Creek (UBWC) watershed. This will enhance and support the contributions of the ARS Soil Drainage Research Unit to the ARS Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). Specific goals of the agreement include:

1. Jointly develop with the cooperator, NRCS, and ARS a special Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) designed to provide cost share dollars for adoption and implementation of precision nutrient management and pesticide management within UBWC watershed.

2. Facilitate the implementation of the EQIP.

3. Administer the pesticide management portion of the EQIP plan.


Assessment of Commercially Marketed Filter Materials for Tile Drainage Outlets on Golf Courses (U.S. Golf Association)
The overall objective of the research is to evaluate the ability of commercially available filter materials to absorb or bind nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) and a select list of pesticides (2,4-D, chlorothalonil, and metalaxyl) from tile drainage water on a golf course green. Hypothesis A: The ability of the sorbent to adsorb a pesticide is dependent on the pesticide and its concentration. Hypothesis B: The capacity of the sorbent is limited and dependent on the targeted pesticide to be adsorbed. Hypothesis C: The ability of an in-line filter system to sorb/bind contaminants will be significantly impacted by operating at or near flow capacity conditions. Hypothesis D: The installation of an in-line filter on a tile drainage line from a golf course green will significantly reduce the amount of nutrients and pesticides exiting the site through subsurface drainage under natural conditions. U.S. Golf Association.


Improving Flooding Tolerance of Soybean by Genetic Transformation (The University of Missouri)


The broad objective of this cooperative research project is to conduct field and laboratory research to improve flooding tolerance of soybean. This project address objective 3 of the current CRIS: Development flooding-tolerant soybean cultivars that are better adapted to the wet soil conditions associated with the use of drainage water management systems (DWMS) in the Midwest U.S.

Completed Agreements


Development and Testing of Watershed Scale Drainage Water Management Models (The Ohio State University)
The broad objectives of the cooperative research project was to improve current models or develop new models that would accurately simulate the effects of drainage water management practices and technologies on hydrology and water quality under Midwest conditions. This research enhanced and supported the contributions of the ARS Soil Drainage Research Unit to the ARS Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP), the Source Water Protection Initiative (SWPI), and the Agriculture Drainage Management Systems (ADMS) Task Force goals.


Performance Evaluation for Subsurface Drainage Installation Equipment (The Ohio State University)
The objective was to assist in the development and field testing of monitoring equipment and testing procedures to evaluate the accuracy of the placement of drain pipes by drainage plows, including, but not limited to the new pull-behind plows that are intended for use by farmers inexperienced in design and installation of water management systems.

Last Modified: 8/12/2016
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