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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Agroecosystems Management Research » Research » Research Project #442027

Research Project: Evaluation of Saturated Buffers as Conservation Drainage Practice for Treating Agricultural Subsurface Drainage

Location: Agroecosystems Management Research

Project Number: 5030-13000-012-009-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 1, 2022
End Date: Dec 31, 2022

1. Evaluate long-term impact of saturated conditions on changes in soil chemical properties within Saturated Riparian Buffers (SRBs). 2. Evaluate effect of field-scale management practices and climate conditions on nitrate removal trends over time.

Objective 1: Deep core soil sampling will be conducted at each of five SRB sites forming transects of three to five sampling areas aligned perpendicular to the distribution pipe and stream. Several transects will be identified to encompass the entire lengths of the distribution pipe (total of 10-15 deep core samples per SRB site). Additionally, three to five deep core samples will be collected in the area outside of distribution pipeline to allow for evaluation of the long term-impact of SRB on soil characteristics. Objective 2: Nitrate removal rates will be compared within several SRB sites over a period of 8-10 years. Long-term data of water quality will be evaluated to understand how climatic conditions, soil properties and management practices influence the effectiveness of SRB in removing nitrates. Our hypothesis is that nitrate removal rates will increase with time as the riparian vegetation becomes established and enhances soil quality.