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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Agroecosystems Management Research » Research » Research Project #443896

Research Project: Performance Evaluation of Saturated Buffers in South Fork Watershed

Location: Agroecosystems Management Research

Project Number: 5030-13000-012-014-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: May 15, 2023
End Date: May 14, 2027

1) Quantify long-term nitrate loss within saturated riparian buffers established under a range of conditions. 2) Evaluate edaphic factors regulating nitrate loss within saturated buffers. 3) Develop site evaluation and design criteria to maximize nitrate removal.

A conservation planning framework tool will be used in partnership with Cooperator to identify sites within South Fork watershed suitable for the installation of new saturated buffer sites. Once suitable areas are identified, the cooperator will assist in site survey and design of saturated buffers. Flow and nitrate concentrations in the subsurface drainage will be measured continuously. The fate of nitrate in the buffers will be followed by sampling groundwater within the buffers from multiple transects of wells spanning the width of the buffers. This research will test the potential for saturated buffers to decrease nitrate loads to streams draining tile-drained landscapes and can be compared to performance of other saturated buffers previously installed in Iowa under different conditions.