July Newsletter

Director’s Desk

The summer has brought on the busy season for field days, training sessions, and workshops. I’ve decided to summarize three of the recent events in which ADMC members were heavily involved with educating landowners, farmers, and agency personal on the benefits of conservation drainage. I apologize for not getting the “In the News”  e-newsletter out the past couple of weeks as travel has made it difficult to publish. Look for another addition coming out later this week.

While I’ve been travelling Jeanne has been busy keeping the ADMC Event Calendar up to date. Please check it out to see if there are any field days or webinars that would be of interest to you. Also, if you have an event that we have not placed on the calendar, please let us know and we will get it posted. 

The CTIC conservation tour (August 20-21) will be heavily focused  on conservation drainage in central Iowa. Mike Naig, Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, will kick off the tour which will have a stop at the Couser Cattle Company and their modern farm experience which includes plans for controlled drainage, bioreactors and saturated buffers. Other stops include the IA LICA demonstration farm and the Tesdell Century farm. For more information click here.

The next Advanced Conservation Drainage Training will happen July 24 and 25th. On the 25th there will be a field day open to the public to view a smart wetland installation at Illinois Central College. If interested in attending, please click here for more information. 

Jeanne has also been updating ADMC fact sheets for members to use on saturated buffers, bioreactors, controlled drainage, multi-purpose oxbows, constructed wetlands, and two-stage ditches. They are in the final editing stages now and I will distribute them soon. 

ADMC Members Leading the Way

Advanced Conservation Drainage Training

It has been a busy month and a half of field days, trainings, and workshops. The Nature Conservancy has contracted with ADMC to facilitate the Advanced Conservation Drainage Training (ACDT) series. The summer series consists of three days of classroom training for applicants accompanied by  three public field days centered around a conservation drainage practice installation. The series focuses on saturated buffers, constructed wetlands, and controlled drainage. The saturated buffer session kicked off on June 19th in Champaign, IL. The cohort of 20+ participants attended the classroom session on day one. On day two, over 50 attendees attended the installation field day at the Lannon farm. Weather related construction delays worked in the participants favor as most of the installation was happening during the field day. The saturated buffer services an 8-inch main and utilizes a 1,200 ft distribution line.

Illinois LICA members set the control structure.
Saturated buffer distribution line being trenched in.

ADMC members were heavily involved with the saturated buffer installation as Illinois LICA coordinated the construction and Springfield Plastics Inc. and Agri Drain provided pipe and the control structure for the project. ADMC treasurer Steve Baker, Springfield Plastics Inc., gave an expert on site presentation explaining the inner workings of saturated buffers.

ADMC Treasurer Steve Baker, Springfield Plastics Inc., explains the saturated buffer construction process.

Dodge County MN SWCD

Dodge County Soil and Water Conservation District hosted a bioreactor field day associated with the installation of Roger Toquam’s bioreactor near Blooming Prairie, MN on June 28th. ADMC presented on siting and design considerations for bioreactors and saturated buffers. Paul Sweeney, Ecosystem Services Exchange (ESE), discussed how partners can guide the design process. ADMC was well represented on the project again as ESE designed the bioreactor through their agreement with MN NRCS and Ellingson Companies provided the contracting services for the installation. ADMC member Mark Morreim, of Morreim Drainage Inc., also brought  his crew to the field day to gain insights on their upcoming bioreactor installation.

Roger Toquam and his father Orlo gave a fantastic presentation to start the day. They explained how their family has continuously adopted new conservation practices. Conservation drainage practices were the logical next step.

Roger and Orlo Toquam explain the decision making on their farm.
Paul Sweeney, Ecosystem Services Exchange and ADMC board member, presents on how private industry can participate in getting conservation on the ground.

ADMC Diamond Members


Ag Drainage + Future of Water Quality Workshop

ISG hosted an Agricultural Drainage + Future of Water Quality Workshop in Marshall, MN on July 10 and 11. ADMC participated as a steering committee member as well as an event speaker. On the evening of July 10 about 40 attendees participated in a field tour of the Yellow Medicine River watershed in Minnesota’s Area II River Basins Projects Area. The highlight of the field tour was visiting an innovative drainage improvement project that was initiated when two landowners wanted to restore wetlands. One of the wetlands was restored through CREP. There was going to be a $20,000 expense to relocate the county tile, but instead partners were able to raise the roadway creating 60.4 acre-feet of flood storage. Creating flood storage is the highest priority in the watershed according to the recently completed Yellow Medicine River One Watershed, One Plan.The second wetland was installed using the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Reserve Program.

At the same time of wetland restoration, there was needed improvements in the public tile (CD37) draining above the wetlands. The failing 24 inch main needed an estimated $225,000 worth of repair. Instead of replacing the main, a pump station was installed at a cost of $141,000. The drainage water was then routed to the wetlands.  The water quality improvement project was eligible for Minnesota bonding through Area II, which covered 75% of the pump station expense. The expense incurred by CD37 was roughly $50,000 compared to the original $225,000. This was an upfront savings to the ditch of roughly $175,000. The project not only saved the ditch money, but improved the drainage system for the owners and water quality for those downstream.

Workshop attendees learning how the county manages the CD37 pump station.
Looking down the sump for the two 10-HP pumps can convey 1100 gallons/minute.

In addition to ADMC member ISG hosting and planning the event, ADMC was well represented as ADS and Prinsco were both sponsors and sent many employees to attend the workshop. 


July Newsletter

Conservation Drainage Events

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