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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbus, Ohio » Soil Drainage Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #227342

Title: Agricultural Drainage Water Management: Potential Impact and Implementation Strategies for Ohio

item Fausey, Norman

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/7/2008
Publication Date: 11/13/2008
Citation: Fausey, N.R., Seger, M., Brown, L. 2008. Agricultural Drainage Water Management: Potential Impact and Implementation Strategies for Ohio. Meeting Abstract.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The unique soil and climate of the Upper Mississippi River Basin (and the Lake Erie Basin) area provide the resources for bountiful agricultural production. Agricultural drainage (both surface and subsurface drainage) is essential for achieving economically viable crop production and management. Drainage practices alter the hydrology; shortening the travel distance and travel time for precipitation to move from the landscape into the stream networks, and increasing the volume of water moving to the streams. Consequently the water interacts less with the mineral and organic components of the soil profile and there is less opportunity for biological and chemical interactions to process dissolved nutrients carried with the drainage water to the streams. Historically these drainage systems were managed as free drainage systems allowing all the water that reached the drain to flow freely to the receiving stream. The advent of the concept of drainage water management has provided new management strategies for drainage water that have shown significant beneficial environmental impact in research studies. These benefits are being quantified, tested, and demonstrated at the field scale across western Ohio through an NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant. Plot scale research in Ohio has shown significant reduction in drainage volume and nitrate load delivered offsite with winter season drainage water management (raising the drainage outlet elevation). The primary objectives of the CIG project are to demonstrate these flow reductions at the field scale and to assess the potential yield benefit of crop season drainage water management (additional water for crop use). Educational programs are being offered on design of these systems, and cost sharing is available in some states to incentivize both installation and management. Spatial distribution of soils where this practice can be applied will be quantified, and a CIG project update will be included.