Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Delaware, Virginia, Maryland) $748,648

Decreasing nitrogen and phosphorus in drainage waters using a comprehensive drainage management approach

The Chesapeake Bay and its watershed have been the focus of much public attention and substantial conservation efforts. However, despite four decades of efforts to reduce non-point source nutrient pollution, excess nutrient delivery continues to persist in many parts of the watershed.

Controlling nutrient loss from artificially drained agricultural lands on the Atlantic Coastal Plain requires a comprehensive approach that includes field and drainage management practices to address production and water quality concerns.

This project seeks to integrate field and drainage management practices to develop, demonstrate and test a comprehensive approach to drainage management that can be readily adopted by producers on the Coastal Plain.

Working closely with conservation personnel and producers, comprehensive drainage/ditch management systems will be installed and effectiveness demonstrated on the Coastal Plain of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Technologies to be incorporated include gypsum curtains, biofilter curtains, biofilter reactors, active drainage management, and low-disturbance ditch maintenance practices.

These field activities will be closely coupled with educational activities aimed at producers, drainage districts and conservation personnel. Feedback from producers, drainage districts and conservation personnel will be used to adjust the practice development and implementation.