Feasibility of Controlled Drainage for Mitigating Nutrient Loss from Tile Drainage Systems in South-central Minnesota

Project Staff: 

Principal Investigators: Gary Sands, Assistant Professor, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering; David Mulla, Professor, Department of Soil, Water, and Climate; Lowell Busman, Extension educator, WRC, and Steven Taff

Funding: 

USGS-WRRI 104B/ CAIWQ Competitive Grants Program

Project Duration: 

March 1999 - February 2001

Summary: 

Recent data suggest that the Upper Mississippi River Basin contributes more than one-half of the total nitrate-N load in the entire Mississippi while contributing less than one-fourth of the total water. Intensive row crop production that is dependent on artificial drainage systems is the leading contributor to nitrate load. In order to reduce nutrient loadings into the Mississippi, it is imperative that strategies be developed to mitigate the effects of these drainage systems. Gary Sands, David Mulla, and Lowell Busman, were awarded a grant to develop a facility for controlled drainage research and demonstration and provide an initial assessment of the controlled drainage’s feasibility in south central Minnesota.