Sunday, January 29, 2006

Farm tile drainage progressing rapidly

As told by Chris Niskanen over at the St. Paul MN Pioneer Press there is a tremendous amount of tile drainage going on in the north central USA: 100 million feet per year or about 19,000 miles by one estimate. Improved flexible drain tile is making this unprecedented rate of installation possible. The article mentions a number of areas of potential concern: loss of duck habitat and increased nitrate levels in surface water. Where no jurisdictional wetlands are being tiled, no permits are needed to perform this work. However the extent of the practice has caught the attention of folks and a community effort to address the impact of farm drainage on wetland habitat is being discussed.
Image source: South Dakota State University – Ag environmental issues page
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