What are the BEnefits to my farm operation?


There are a number of reasons to install a Smart Wetland as part of your nutrient loss reduction strategy:

  • Removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from tile drainage

  • Low annual maintenance requirement, if correctly designed and installed

  • Long life (30+ years) practice

  • No cropping system changes

  • Compatible with most landscapes and farming operations

  • Good alternative use of negative-revenue land

  • USDA Farm Bill conservation program financial assistance

  • Secondary benefits of natural wildlife and pollinator habitat

How effective is it at removing nutrients?

To measure the nutrient removal capability of Smart Wetlands in Illinois, data are being collected on several of the installed wetlands by a research team at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The data include:

  • Weather (rain, temperature, wind)

  • Water flow rate

  • Nitrogen constituents at inlet and outlet

  • Phosphorus constituents at inlet and outlet

  • Tracer studies (hydraulic residence time)

  • Sediment organic matter content

  • Microbial community

This data is then analyzed by scientists to determine the rate and efficiency of nutrient removal. This information can then be compared to the rate and efficiency removal of other practices.

What financing options exist?

Currently, the Wetlands Initiative is providing grants to assist landowners in covering the construction and vegetation costs.

If the landowner wants to apply for U.S. Farm Bill cost-share funds, TWI will work with NRCS and FSA to help get the design and financial assistance plan approved. That means the landowner needs only to provide the necessary information to TWI and approve the plan at various stages of development.

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Could a Smart Wetland be right for your farm? Request a consultation.