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ADMC declares Polk County saturated buffer initiative a success


January 15, 2021


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The Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition (ADMC) has issued an update on some of its major contracted 2020 projects following the conclusion of the year.

Among those projects is the Polk County Saturated Buffer Project. The Iowa-based project is the result of a SWCD-County-IDALS-NRCS-ADMC partnership. Its purpose is to create a new framework to make a concerted effort to install more saturated buffers and bioreactors throughout the region.

The initial phases of the project have been deemed successful, with 129 tile outlets being surveyed and 55 sites having final designs and landowner signatures. It is also being declared a success due to the systematic approach to the framework, which includes elements such: as prioritizing watersheds that have a high occurrence of agricultural conservation planning framework identified saturated buffer sites; incentivizing landowner participation by matching funding sources to provide 100% cost share and a temporary construction easement; recruiting landowners and farmers to install multiple sites and more.

The benefits of saturated buffers as a protectant against nutrient runoff have been long documented by various studies.

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This project is designed to be replicable in other areas.