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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Ecology and management of agricultural drainage ditches: a literature review

item Smiley, Peter - Rocky
item Williams, Lance

Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/5/2007
Publication Date: 7/22/2007
Citation: Smiley, P.C., Williams, L.R. 2007. Ecology and management of agricultural drainage ditches: a literature review. Soil and Water Conservation Society.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Agricultural drainage ditches are headwater streams that have been modified or constructed for agricultural drainage, and are often used in conjunction with tile drains. These modified streams are a common landscape feature in Ohio, and constitute 25% of stream habitat within the state. Management of drainage ditches focuses on removing excess water from agricultural fields without considering the influence of these hydrological and physical modifications on the biota living within ditches. We conducted a literature review to synthesize the current status of information related to the ecology and management of agricultural drainage ditches. Specifically, we addressed the following questions in our review: 1) where were the studies conducted?; 2) when were the studies published?; 3) what types of studies were conducted?; 4) what organisms were studied in biological studies?; 5) what types of management information is available and does the information differ between biological studies and other disciplines? Key results from our review indicate that most studies: 1) were conducted in the United States, England, and the Netherlands; 2) examined plants and aquatic macroinvertebrates within drainage ditches; and 3) provided information related to the influence of small-scale management actions within ditches. Our results also suggest that further research is needed to provide insights on methods to incorporate environmental considerations into the management of agricultural drainage ditches.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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