Monitoring edge-of-field surface runoff: A three state pilot project to promote and evaluate a simple,inexpensive and reliable gauge

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$28,757
2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$34,868
2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$36,550
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$25,000
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
Recipient
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Recipient Type
Local/Regional Government
State Government
Status
Completed
Start Date
January 2012
End Date
September 2015
Activity Type
Assessment/Evaluation
Demonstration/Pilot Project
Monitoring
Counties Affected
Dodge
Fillmore
Goodhue
Wabasha
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013: Chapter 137, Article 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

(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
$28,757
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Measurable Outcome(s)

Please see final report for results and deliverables.

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

(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
$34,868
Administration costs
$4,559
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Measurable Outcome(s)

•Number of monitoring sites operational (8 sites, 15 monitoring stations)•Number of people that attend field days (95)•Number of local partners who will now have an understanding of how to monitor edge-of-field locations (8) Additional outcomes will be based on research results. If results indicate the new design has good overall accuracy and is comparable to the conventional method than researchers may be interested in further promoting its use. In this case, two proposed measurable outcome may be 1) the number of low cost structures deployed on the landscape and 2) the number of local conservation professional trained to establish and maintain these systems.

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.

2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$36,550
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Refer to fiscal year 2014

Measurable Outcome(s)

Refer to fiscal year 2014

Description of Funds
Administration costs associated with this project are reported on the project page entitled "Statewide Technical Assistance".
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
$25,000
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Measurable Outcome(s)

Refer to fiscal year 2014

Description of Funds
Administration costs associated with this project are reported on the project page entitled "Statewide Technical Assistance".
Project Overview

This project was part of a three-state partnership to test, demonstrate and promote a simple, inexpensive and reliable new system for edge-of-field water monitoring. The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneer Farm, in collaboration with UW-Platteville Engineering, has developed a low cost monitoring system that can obtain good quality, edge-of-field monitoring data in agricultural settings. By eliminating unnecessary features and assembling components in-house, the prototype monitoring system derives the majority of cost savings with minimal sacrifice in accuracy. This project was a coordinated effort between scientists and organizations in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Objectives
The purpose of this project was to promote edge-of-field surface water monitoring and to test a prototype monitoring system  designed to reduce cost and technical barriers. To achieve the project goals, the following objectives were defined.

  1. Install, maintain, and operate eight prototype water monitoring stations within southeastern Minnesota.
  2. Determine if discharge and load estimates of the prototype monitoring system differs significantly from estimates generated with a conventional system.
  3. Evaluate the functionality of the prototype monitoring system in differing landscapes and management practices across southeastern Minnesota.
  4. Make improvements to the prototype monitoring system based on the results of the quantitative and qualitative evaluations.
  5. Increase technical capacity of local monitoring programs (soil and water conservation districts, counties, etc) to conduct edge-of-field monitoring through training opportunities and technical material development.
  6. Ensure quality data collection by developing and implementing quality control procedures.
  7. Engage cooperating farmers and agricultural groups in a discussion of results and feasibility of producer operation of stations on a broader scale.

Results can be found in the attached, final report. 

About the Issue

A widely-used conventional method of monitoring edge-of-field runoff involves the use of a pre-fabricated fiberglass H-flume, datalogger, refrigerated sampler, stage sensor and enclosure. This system provides a high degree of flexibility and very good accuracy; however, it also requires experienced, technically skilled staff to operate. The high capital and labor costs prevent conventional systems from being widely deployed. Project partners evaluated an alternative simple and inexpensive  system.

Project Details

This project was led by University of Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneer Farm. The project leader was Dennis Busch.

In Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture worked with Dodge County Environmental Services, Goodhue, Rice, Dodge and Fillmore County Soil and Water Conservation Districts and The Nature Conservancy.

Deliverables:

  1. Coordinate project efforts with partners in Iowa and Wisconsin
  2. Conduct in-field evaluations of prototype system at eight locations in Minnesota
  3. Develop a technical manual describing standard operating procedures for  installation, operation, and maintenance of equipment
  4. Generate discharge, yield, and load data for stations in Minnesota
  5. Develop a "New Technology and Innovative Approach" fact sheet
  6. Complete a report that summarizes results of the quantitative and qualitative evaluations, which will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal
Project Manager
First Name
Matt
Last Name
Ribikawskis
Organization Name
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Street Address
3555 9th Street, Suite 350
City
Rochester
State
MN
Zip Code
55901
Phone
(507) 206-2884
Email
Matthew.Ribikawskis@state.mn.us