Agricultural drainage widening Minnesota rivers

  • Article by: Josephine Marcotty , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 5, 2013 - 10:11 PM

Research is latest to show impact of agriculture on state’s landscape.

  • 13
  • Comments

  • Results per page:
dacmileMar. 5, 1310:56 PM

Looks like one of those cases where one needs to read more than this media story, the research paper abstract & its conclusion. Just how can Farmers be draining more and more depressional wetlands, especially since the 1985 Federal Swampbuster laws went into effect?? I am well aware that the USACOE, MNDNR, BWSR & USF&W do drive bys & fly overs unmercifully attacking any Farmer that dares drain any wetland, especially a depressional one! Furthermore in the late 70's to 1985 there was a farm financial crisis when Farmers had no extra dollars for draiange investments. The vast majority of Ag land depressional drainage was done in the early 1900's, 1950's & 1960's; not from 1975 to 2009. The research paper definitively states that the pattern & seepage tile drainage that Farmers may have been doing more recently increases annual water yield by a near indistinguishable 5 mm. Thus where can the extra water yield over 1940 - 1974 be coming from other than climate cycling or more extreme & intense events??? But of course if we can find a place to store or ET more water resource that will be a worthy and responsible venture!

4
3
MorgMar. 6, 13 6:03 AM

I remember as a child in the early 70's, where I lived in S. Central MN there were little ponds and wetlands everywhere. That is, until the trechers rolled in with their huge tubes of plastic tile and the backhoes dug hundreds of new "rivers". Funny how that coincided with "hundred year floods" every few years. Satish Gupta: The Minnesota River can go from a trickle to overflowing its banks overnight. That isn't because of an additional 4 inches of rain a year, it's because the water pours in as fast as it falls due to all of the tile. The thing missing from the story is the role nature plays in filtering our groundwater When it has a chance to sit and slowly soak in. But as George Carlin famously said, the Earth will be fine. It will simply get sick of us destroying it and it will swat us off like the little annoyances we are. It will turn against us in the form of a superbug disease or a huge natural disaster, and that will be that. Earth's not going anywhere, PEOPLE are.

4
8
fishheadMar. 6, 13 6:37 AM

I wonder what impact rapid tile drainage is having on aquifer recharge over the ag region? I read about a guy in India who is teaching villagers how to build ponds. Before they built the ponds the village wells were running dry but now the ponds hold the water back and it infiltrates down to the aquifer recharging the wells with clean filtered water.

6
2
mmediaMar. 6, 13 6:56 AM

"unmercifully attacking any Farmer that dares drain any wetland" __ Then I guess the govt. has found mercy, because they are getting drained. For years I hunted WF on my in-laws field next to a low wet area they would plow around. When the crops were off and the hole had water, the ducks loved it. They retired, and the renters tiled it 3 years ago so they could plow straight through - no more ducks, no more me hunting them.

3
2
davehougMar. 6, 13 6:59 AM

OK, reduce tile on existing farmland for the common good. Do we take revenue from the farmer because MN likes less tile via a law? Does MN buy 'tile rights' from willing farmers at market price? HOW does MN pay for this common good? By taking from one or sharing the cost among all????

2
3
earneditMar. 6, 13 7:04 AM

dacmile, the abstract for the study says that water yield increased by more than 50 percent, not 5 mm. This symbol, % , means percent. Please get your facts straight. There are many studies that indicate that drainage increases both volume and rate of runoff. Increased rainfall only exacerbates the problem, not causes it. There were few wetland regulations during the post world war II era, and even now, so called "farmed wetlands" get drained. And with all the upland pattern tile drainage occurring, which ultimately discharges to a man made or altered watercourse(ditch, impacts to major rivers is a foregone conclusion.

3
3
miskwaaMar. 6, 13 7:37 AM

They are allowed to impact under the "market based" no net loss system. As the corn price has increased, it has been profitable to buy the credits, even 1.5:1 or even 3:1 and drain. That was a problem warned about in the beginning as watersheds don't move. Add the illegal draining and exemptions and these are the consequences. We are basing a system on something not real, money, to structure a decision making system that impacts the real world. It does not work, as the financial system operates as if the world remains the same or gets larger...the impacts are not "replaced"..they are simply moved somewhere else.

3
2
pellcreekMar. 6, 13 7:45 AM

June 19 & 20, 2012 the Duluth Area had 7- 10 inches of rain which caused millions of dollars of damage. Duluth doesn't seem to have a lot of farm tile drainage but when you have a lot of hard surfaced roads, parking lots & saturated soil the water has to go somewhere. Surface water runs downhill to the nearest creek or river ruining roads in the process. It's the same everywhere, big rain events = flooding. The GOOD NEWS is that the icepack is increasing at the South Pole. Here's hoping all of you have a nice day & may your life be filled with Peace, Love & Joy.............Kern Iverson

6
2
herdboarMar. 6, 13 8:44 AM

It's really hard to sneak in with a tiling machine, backhoe, stringer truck, a semi load of tile, flashing lasers, to drain a "wetland" and not be noticed and reported by neighbors. Permits are needed at the state level this year, instead of the county NRCS, so the permitting process has now slowed to the snails pace that only a state agency could be proud of. A developer recently paid a huge amount of money for farmland in our area to construct a man made lake to replace a wetland that he drained on the out skirts of town. If you get permission to drain a wetland, you must build another of equal or greater size.

5
0
rlwr51Mar. 6, 1310:20 AM

Maybe it's time yo make something besides profit our main motivator.

1
2

Comment on this story   |  

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Can the Wild rally to win its playoff series against Colorado?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT