Water Quality & Edge-of-Field Practices

Water Quality

ISAP’s Water Quality and Edge-of-Field programs highlight practices like saturated buffers, constructed wetlands, controlled drainage, and bioreactors, which are designed to capture and treat high levels of nitrate-nitrogen from tile flow. Conservation drainage training and related resources provide participants with knowledge and tools to scale up practice adoption by making conservation drainage practices a standard part of tile installation and farm management. 

The Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition (ADMC) and several ISAP partners were recently awarded a National Fish Habitat Partnership Grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Fishers & Farmers Partnership Program. The team is working in central Illinois to identify sites where (1) conditions are suitable for a conservation drainage practice, and (2) there is local interest in gaining hands-on experience with the evaluation, design, and installation steps associated with conservation drainage practices. Funding is available to install 3-5 practices at no cost to the landowner. Read the full press release here.

Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework Cohort

In 2021, ISAP launched an Illinois Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) cohort, providing training on how best to utilize an ACPF as a watershed planning tool. The framework, which is being used in hundreds of watersheds throughout the Corn Belt, is based on a set of conservation practices that, used in combination, improve watershed health. ISAP provided an Illinois context for all training content and continues to grow the peer network of ACPF users in Illinois watersheds.

Read about current resources:

EPA Watershed Academy Learning Modules and Webcasts

By ISAP Coordinator | September 29, 2023

EPA’s Watershed Academy holds a variety of learning modules, webcasts, and watershed management resources.

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EPA Webcast Archives

By ISAP Coordinator | September 29, 2023

Previous webcasts covering topics including: agriculture, climate change, lakes, monitoring and tools, nutrient management, oceans and coastal waters, protection and planning, rivers and streams, water research, and wetlands.

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ISAP Seeks Conservation Drainage Project Sites

By ISAP Coordinator | September 19, 2023

The Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition (ADMC) and partners from the Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership (ISAP) are proud to announce that they have been selected by the Fishers and Farmers Partnership…

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Guide to Water Quality, Climate, Social and Economic Outcomes Estimation Tools

By ISAP Coordinator | June 20, 2023

The guide features multiple approaches, methods, and tools available to quantify environmental, social, and economic outcomes associated with farm conservation practices.  All of the tools can be used by farm…

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ISAP’s Edge-of-Field Incentive Directory

By ISAP Coordinator | May 19, 2023

ISAP’s Edge-of-Field Incentives Directory provides an overview of edge-of-field (EoF) incentive payment opportunities for farmers in Illinois. EoF practices are defined as those practices which intercept, capture, and treat subsurface…

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University of Illinois Extension: “Buffing Up” Water Quality

By Amy Masson | April 5, 2022 |

This saturated buffer fact sheet outlines the benefits of this practice and lists several considerations and requirements of installment.

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Transforming Drainage Rate Calculator

By Amy Masson | March 6, 2022 |

This tool calculates the three standard coefficients (drainage rates) for characterizing the hydraulics of subsurface drainage systems.

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Access a variety of program related resources.