Sunny Soil Sampling Days!
The team have been out in March and April 2017 to carry out soil sampling before the termination of cover crops, which farmers will be doing soon in preparation for planting this year's cash crops. We use soil corers to take samples along multiple transects in a set of fields that we return to each sampling season in each watershed. Some had cover crops planted last Fall and some did not, allowing us to compare trends in soil properties over time. It takes a while to work through all that soil so results will be forthcoming later this year!
New signs erected to raise awareness of the IWI project
Team members at the Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) that cover the Kirkpatrick Ditch study watershed have been busy putting up new signs to raise awareness of our project. There are now two large road-side signs in Jasper County and one each in Benton and Newton counties which give the relevant SWCD contact information so that interested landowners can get in touch to ask about the cost-share funding available for cover crop planting and two-stage ditch creation.
Graduate student Matt Trentman presents at National Non-Point Source Pollution Workshop - August 23-25 2016
At the National NPS Pollution workshop in Salt Lake City, Matt gave a presentation on our research into the effectiveness of the two-stage ditch at reducing nutrient export and turbidity, as well as reporting on current work looking at the effectiveness of winter cover crops to reduce watershed-scale nutrient export. He also described the goals and future work planned for the IWI project.
During the meeting, the group was fortunate enough to meet a rural Utah farmer (in the cowboy hat, right) who enthusiastically showed off the stream restoration project on his property. He explained that after initially being wary of working with the federal government, he was very happy with his new collaboration with Utah NRCS and the local SWCD team. Matt found his story very inspiring and it was great to hear about another project, like our IWI project albeit in a different setting, where genuine partnerships bring about great results for farmers and the environment!
Overall, this workshop was a fantastic opportunity to showcase our work further afield and also learn about the challenges and solutions to managing stream erosion and nutrient issues in a setting completely different to our northern Indiana sites.
Team presents project results at Indiana Water Resources Association symposium - June 9 2016
Four of our team members attended the IWRA symposium in Angola, IN, and gave a presentation to fellow scientists and members of water resources agencies about the impacts of cover crops on reducing nutrient loss from our demonstration watersheds .