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Research may increase buffer strip sites

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Research may increase buffer strip sites

According to recent research, farmers may be able to use buffer strips in more places than previously recommended to protect water quality.

Researchers at Iowa State University have stated that the design criteria for saturated riverbank buffer zones limit the practical locations used to redirect water from fields and reduce nutrient loss.

Current buffers are limited by maximum bank height and minimum buffer width, but researchers say bank height is not a good reason to rule out potential installations. The findings can be used to update USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service standards and allow more buffers to be installed.

Saturated riverbank buffers can reduce nitrate load by more than 90% by artificially raising the water table in drains through water pipes that permeate plant buffers.

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