On the Leading Edge: Conservation Drainage Practices for Nutrient Loss Reduction

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Click Here to Watch Session 3


The On the Leading Edge series focused on four conservation drainage practices available in Illinois – drainage water management, bioreactors, saturated buffers, and constructed wetlands – including how they work and how contractors and conservation partners can identify potential locations in the field. Case studies were reviewed and how watershed planning tools can be used to help scale up practice adoption will also be presented.

Installing edge of field conservation practices that address nitrate losses from tile drainage is critical for meeting the water quality goals outlined in the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy. Participants in the virtual series explored opportunities to harness and build on available resources and expertise in order to scale up conservation drainage practice implementation throughout Illinois. Existing resources and expertise in Illinois include:

  • Research demonstrating the effectiveness of these practices on real farms.
  • Conservation professionals committed to working with landowners to address resource concerns.
  • Drainage contractors dedicated to professional practice installation and continued learning.
  • Landowners and operators who care about clean water and healthy soil.
  • Comprehensive planning tools to enable practice prioritization at the watershed scale.
  • Cost share programs that can offset costs associated with conservation drainage practice design and installation.