A wetland is a shallow pool that filters sediment, nitrate and other nutrients while also offering flood mitigation and habitat benefits. Constructed wetlands can be specifically designed for agriculture landscapes to intercept drainage tiles, treating the water, before releasing it back into a tile line, ditch or stream.
According to the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, wetlands remove, on average, 52% of nitrate that passes through it.
Wetlands provide many benefits to the landowner, local community and society including:
- Low maintenance
- Long life-span
- Habitat for terrestrial, migratory and aquatic species
- Improved water quality
- And, they’re beautiful!
- The average cost of a wetland varies drastically depending on the location and style of wetland you choose. Costs include site planning, design, excavation, planting and tile redirection.
- Compatible with existing federal and state cost-share programs so farmers who implement saturated buffers can recoup some of their costs
- https://www.flickr.com/photos/151012306@N08/albums/72157719317524616: A step by step visual guide to bioreactor implementation. These photos were taken on real farms across Iowa and are part of the Conservation Media Library.
- https://iowaagriculture.gov/water-resources-bureau/iowa-conservation-reserve-enhancement-program-crep: A great resource on a particular type of wetland know as CREP from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCu5gKdg_OQ&t=11s: An informational video on agricultural wetlands from the Leopold Center.
- https://www.nrem.iastate.edu/bmpcosttools/files/page/files/2016%20Cost%20Sheet%20for%20Constructed%20Wetlands.pdf A wetland cost estimate overview from Iowa State University.
- https://www.iowaagwateralliance.com/conservation-solutions/wetlands: Various technical and communication resources from the Iowa Ag Water Alliance.
- https://store.extension.iastate.edu/product/15823: A whole farm conservation best management practices manual from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. It includes a decision tree to help decide which edge of field practice is right for you.
This project is part of the Conservation Media Library.
The Conservation Media Library was supported by an Iowa NRCS funded Conservation Innovation Grant to the Soil and Water Conservation Society. To learn more about the Library and access other resources, go to www.swcs.org.