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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Pp. 500-500 in Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Environmental Regulations–II Proceedings of the 8-12 November 2003 Conference (Albuquerque, New Mexico USA), Publication Date 8 November 2003.  .(doi:10.13031/2013.15604)
Authors:   J. L. Fouss, D. A. Bucks, and B. C. Grigg
Keywords:   Controlled drainage, Shallow drainage, Drainage water management, Nutrient export, Nitrate, Hypoxia, Water quality

The Agricultural Drainage Management Systems (ADMS) Task Force was formed in 2002, with the primary goal of reducing the export of fertilizer nutrients, particularly nitrate, from agricultural production areas of the Midwestern United States. The desired result of ADMS task force efforts is to decrease transport of excess nutrients through the Mississippi River drainage basin to the Gulf of Mexico, thus addressing one of the primary causes of persistent hypoxic zones in the Northern Gulf. The ADMS task force is proceeding with the hypothesis that improved agricultural drainage management, particularly through controlled and shallow drainage systems, will significantly reduce nitrogen export from agricultural production areas. While currently focusing on controlled- and shallow-drainage technologies, the ADMS task force will also incorporate emerging nutrient and drainage management practices (for both subsurface and surface drainage) and technologies in the effort to address nutrient export issues. Membership of the ADMS task force includes USDA-ARS researchers, CSREES university scientists and extension specialists, and USDA-NRCS conservationists, soil scientists, and engineers. Attendees at the Task Force meetings have included representatives from the drainage industry, land-improvement contractors association, commodity organizations or groups, environmental organizations, state regulatory agencies, US-EPA, USGS, individual contractors and framers, and other interested parties. The ADMS task force is developing guidance for controlled- and shallow-drainage systems, both for new systems and for retrofitting existing subsurface drainage systems. The controlled-drainage technology will initially be presented in a USDA-NRCS Technical Note, that references key NRCS Specifications and Standards concerning drainage water management (Practice 554), and other related standards. The technical guidance provided in these documents will detail system design, installation, and management considerations. While initially targeting nutrient export from Midwestern U.S. agricultural production areas and transport to the Gulf of Mexico, the plan of action and guidance developed by the ADMS task force could be applied in other humid regions of the United States to reduce nutrient export to fresh, estuarine, and coastal waters. Since this water management practice has been shown through research to improve water quality from subsurface drainage systems, the innovation conservation practices provision of the 2002 Farm Bill can potentially provide costsharing on the installation of the drainage control apparatus or components on new or existing subsurface and surface drainage systems.

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