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Tuesday, January 26 • 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Artificial Subsurface Drainage In Wetland Catchments–Overview of Long-Term Study Site and Data-Collection Methods

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AUTHORS: Charles F. Dahl*, Raymond G. Finocchiaro, Brian A. Tangen – U.S. Geological Survey Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

ABSTRACT: Conversion from grassland to cropland has accelerated throughout the last decade in portions of the Prairie Pothole Region. Along with this conversion is the rapidly increasing use of artificial subsoil drainage systems in agricultural fields. Subsurface drainage can help agricultural production under certain conditions by removing excess soil water that can delay planting and cause water-stress to crops. However, these drainage systems may negatively alter wetland ecosystems. In an effort to lessen these alterations on wetlands, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) imposes a proximity or “set-back” to which drainage systems are allowed. In ND and SD, the NRCS standard set-back distance is calculated from the Van Schilfgaarde equation generally using a 30-cm water table decrease at the wetland’s edge over 14 or more consecutive days. In an effort to comply with federal easement provisions on applicable wetlands the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requires scientific evidence on the utility of using the NRCS standard set-back distances to limit hydrological impacts to adjacent wetlands. A cooperative study between the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was initiated with the goals of quantifying these potential impacts and evaluating the efficacy of protective set-backs. In 2012, four wetland catchments were equipped to record parameters to be used to calculate a water budget. These include: soil moisture, soil temperature, precipitation, evapotranspiration, groundwater, and wetland surface water levels. In 2013, two of the wetlands were encircled with perforated drain pipe at the NRCS calculated set-back distance and equipped to monitor discharge at the pipe outlets. The four catchments will continue to be instrumented and monitored for the foreseeable future. A basis for the study, details of the study design, and collection methods will be presented.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
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Attendees (4)