Preventing nutrient loss from Indiana farms with watershed-scale pairing of cover crops and the two-stage ditch
The Indiana Watershed Initiative Regional Conservation Partnership Program (IWI RCPP) is pairing watershed-scale implementation of winter cover crops and the two-stage ditch in two Indiana watersheds to reduce nutrient loss from fields and improve soil health. These two conservation practices provide a practical solution to nutrient and sediment loss from cropland. Based on preliminary research, a 40-45% reduction in nutrient loss is estimated to be conservatively achievable with winter cover crops paired with the two-stage ditch but this remains to be tested at a true watershed scale. Our goal is adoption of cover crops on 85% of cropland and installation of the two-stage ditch along the majority of channelized ditch draining our demonstration watersheds.
Why is this project needed?
Nutrient runoff from agricultural land is a serious cause of water pollution as well as being detrimental to farmers' soil health. We are testing ways to address these issues...
How is the project running?
This project started in May 2015 with funding through the USDA RCPP program investing $1.2M for on-the-ground practice implementation over 4 years....
Where are we working?
We are carrying out our research in two Indiana watersheds: Shatto Ditch in Kosciusko County and Kirkpatrick Ditch in Jasper County....
Who are the partners?
We have assembled a diverse group of partners committed to achieving the ambitious goals of this project including farmers and landowners, academic researchers and local, state and federal conservationists....