Minnesota's Legacy

Clay County Drainage Site

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$8,951
2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$3,929
2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$6,587
2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$10,048
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$7,042
2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$10,635
2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$10,352
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$31,400
2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$54,787
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
Recipient
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Recipient Type
State Government
Status
Completed
Start Date
July 2009
End Date
December 2019
Activity Type
Demonstration/Pilot Project
Education/Outreach/Engagement
Research
Counties Affected
Clay
Clay
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2017, Chapter 91, Article 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2017: (e) $663,000 the first year and $662,000 the second year are for research to quantify and reduce agricultural contributions to impaired waters and for development and evaluation of best management practices to protect and restore water resources. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2022.

2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$8,951
Administration costs
$15
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Clean Water Research"
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2017, Chapter 91, Article 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2017: (e) $663,000 the first year and $662,000 the second year are for research to quantify and reduce agricultural contributions to impaired waters and for development and evaluation of best management practices to protect and restore water resources. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2022.

2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$3,929
Administration costs
$394
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Clean Water Research"
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2015, 1st Special Session, Chapter 2, Article 2, Sec. 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2015: (e) $788,000 the first year and $787,000 the second year are for research to quantify and reduce agricultural contributions to impaired waters and for development and evaluation of best management practices to protect and restore water resources. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020.

2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$6,587
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Clean Water Research Program"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Number of contacts with farmers, crop advisors and other stakeholders at field days, presentations and other education eventsNumber of research or science groups that request and use data generated at Clay County Drainage Site (either to validate models, reference in TMDL studies or promote the adoption of conservation practices)Number of local and regional partnerships that support research at the Clay County Drainage Site

Measurable Outcome(s)

Will be updated after the fiscal year is complete

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2015, 1st Special Session, Chapter 2, Article 2, Sec. 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2015: (e) $788,000 the first year and $787,000 the second year are for research to quantify and reduce agricultural contributions to impaired waters and for development and evaluation of best management practices to protect and restore water resources. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020.

2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$10,048
Administration costs
$453
Number of full time equivalents funded
See "Clean Water Research Program"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Number of contacts with farmers, crop advisors and other stakeholders at field days, presentations, and other educational eventsNumber of research or science groups that request and use data generated at Clay County Drainage Site (either to validate models, reference in TMDL studies or promote the adoption of conservation practices)Number of local and regional partnerships that support research at the Clay County Drainage Site

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013, Chapter 137, Article 2, Secton 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2013: (d) $1,500,000 the first year and $1,500,000 the second year are for research, pilot projects, and technical assistance on proper implementation of best management practices and more precise information on nonpoint contributions to impaired waters.This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018.

2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$7,042
Administration costs
$660
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Measurable outcomes will be reported at the end of the fiscal year

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013, Chapter 137, Article 2, Secton 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2013: (d) $1,500,000 the first year and $1,500,000 the second year are for research, pilot projects, and technical assistance on proper implementation of best management practices and more precise information on nonpoint contributions to impaired waters.This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018.

2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$10,635
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Number of contacts with farmers, crop advisors and other stakeholders at field days, presentations, and other educational eventsNumber of research or science groups that request and use data generated at Clay County Drainage Site (either to validate models, reference in TMDL studies or promote the adoption of conservation practices)Number of local and regional partnerships that support research at the Clay County Drainage Site

Measurable Outcome(s)

Number of contacts with farmers, crop advisors and other stakeholders at field days, presentations, and other educational events (Project information has been shared with approximately 700 people through 37 presentations, field days and other events) 

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, Chapter 6, Article 2, Sec.3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2011: (d) $775,000 the first year and $775,000 the second year are for research, pilot projects, and technical assistance on proper implementation of best management practices and more precise information on non-point contributions to impaired waters. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2016.

2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$10,352
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Please refer to fiscal year 2014

Measurable Outcome(s)

Please refer to fiscal year 2014

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, Chapter 6, Article 2, Sec.3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2011: (d) $775,000 the first year and $775,000 the second year are for research, pilot projects, and technical assistance on proper implementation of best management practices and more precise information on nonpoint contributions to impaired waters. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2016. 

2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$31,400
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Please refer to fiscal year 2014

Measurable Outcome(s)

Please refer to fiscal year 2016 for updated numbers

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2009, Chapter 172, Article 2, Sec. 2
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2009: (d) $695,000 the first year and $1,570,000 the second year are for research, pilot projects, and technical assistance related to ways agricultural practices contribute to restoring impaired waters and assist with the development of TMDL plans.

2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$54,787
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Please refer to fiscal year 2017

Measurable Outcome(s)

Please refer to fiscal year 2016 for updated numbers

Project Overview

The Clay County Drainage Site was designed to evaluate the environmental impact of both surface and subsurface drainage from agricultural fields. This site includes six subsurface plots and one surface runoff plot, each approximately 24 acres in size. Monitoring stations were fully automated and each individual plot was monitored separately.The soils and topography across this demonstration site are virtually identical and represent field characteristics common in the most productive agricultural areas of the Red River Valley.

Information collected at this site was shared at conferences and field days. The main audiences were local crop advisers and farmers, conservation professionals, and policy-makers.

About the Issue

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture operates a network of drainage demonstration sites around the state, each designed to evaluate the quality and quantity of water and agricultural chemicals moving through subsurface drainage tile. These sites evaluate different methods of reducing phosphorus and / or nitrogen loss on agricultural lands and provide critical information about the characteristics of agricultural drainage.

Project Details

This research site provided baseline data on the nutrient concentrations, flow-weighted concentrations (concentrations of nutrient per unit of water), and loads (amount of nutrient per drainage area) discharged from subsurface and surface drainage in the Red River Valley. The goal was to monitor both the quantity and quality of water leaving agricultural fields. Water samples were tested for:

  • Total suspended solids
  • Total phosphorus
  • Dissolved phosphorus
  • Nitrate and nitrite-nitrogen

The calibration phase of the Clay Drainage Site consisted of five complete years of data collection (2011-2015) on six separately monitored subsurface drainage plots that were managed consistently. The intent of completing this calibration phase of the project was to ensure that future treatments applied were placed on plots that respond similarly when all other conditions are held constant. The treatment phase started in 2016.

Research at this site compared nutrient loss between plots with and without drainage water management. Drainage water management (DWM) or controlled drainage, helps producers manage water on their fields. This practice can reduce tile drainage during flood periods, increase crop production, keep nutrients on the field, and limit nutrients downstream. Producers control the water by raising or lowering the elevation of underground drainage. Water can temporarily be held back within the root zone for later use by the crop or it can be released to drain the field for planting. 

The site ended after 2019, concluding the treatment phase of the site which evaluated drainage water management (controlled drainage) alongside conventional tile drainage practices (free-flow drainage).  In addition, the site ended due to the challenges of monitoring a gravity flow drainage system during flooding periods in the area. Occasionally, water overwhelmed the field site creating challenges for accurate monitoring. Automated lift pump stations provide forward flow and can combat monitoring challenges faced during flooding periods.

Project Manager
First Name
Stefan
Last Name
Bischof
Organization Name
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Street Address
801 Roosevelt Avenue
City
Detroit Lakes
State
MN
Zip Code
56501
Phone
(218) 846-7425
Email
Stefan.Bischof@state.mn.us