Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbus, Ohio » Soil Drainage Research » Research » Research Project #438245

Research Project: Healthy Soils, Healthy Waters: Will Soil Health Improvements Mitigate Nutrient Loading to the Great Lakes?

Location: Soil Drainage Research

Project Number: 5080-13210-003-014-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2020
End Date: Jun 30, 2024

This project will generate data to test and validate soil health modifications to the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model, and apply the model to the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB).

On-farm field locations (1-10 ha in size) will be identified that utilize a range of soil health best management practices including cover crops, no-till, and organic nutrient sources. Effects of these practices on soil health and hydrology will be assessed by intensive measurement of soil health indicators, soil physical characteristics, and discharge and nutrient loads in surface and subsurface runoff. We will utilize an existing ARS developed network of on-farm research sites that currently consist of long-term monitoring of water, nitrogen, and phosphorus runoff via surface and subsurface (tile drain) pathways. Management practices at these sites largely consist of common crop rotations and fertilization regions commonly employed in the WLEB region, with paired fields employing best management practices including cover crops, no-tillage, and drainage water management.