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  • Ag-Drainage BMPs

    Artificial drainage is a pervasive feature in agricultural landscapes across the Midwest. Historically, surface (i.e. ditch) and subsurface drainage (i.e. drain tile) systems were installed to make lands more conducive to crop production by reducing crop losses associated with excess soil-water. More recently, focus has been placed on the water quality impacts of these drainage systems, as both positive and negative side effects of drainage have come to light. On one hand, drainage systems have been shown to have some benefits to downstream water quality, such as preventing or limiting soil erosion by reducing surface runoff under certain conditions. On the other hand, the increased movement of nutrient-rich water through the soil profile has been shown to have considerable negative impacts on downstream water quality by increasing nitrate-nitrogen and dissolved phosphorus export.
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