2023 Saturated Buffer Partnership
Established in 2019, the Saturated Buffer Partnership, comprised of Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB), Illinois LICA (ILICA), Illinois Natural Resources Conservation Service (ILNRCS), and Southern Illinois University (SIU), seeks to install one or more saturated buffers per year across the state over a five year period; combining physical conservation drainage implementation with practice outreach, education, and research.
On June 8th, this partnership installed its second saturated buffer, due in part to COVID impacts over the last couple of years, as part of a combined field day on the Pickrell Farm near Buffalo, IL. Joining forces with the Woodchip Bioreactor Partnership (IFB, ILICA, ILNRCS, University of Illinois), which installed the largest NRCS designed woodchip bioreactor in the state of Illinois last fall near Lake Springfield, the partners hosted a field day where approximately 120 attendees were able to learn about both conservation drainage practices by touring these sites. Partners, industry professionals, and the landowners and tenants were on-hand to share all the specifics about each practice, site selection, and some of the decision making that goes into implementing conservation drainage.
Treating approximately 12 acres, the saturated buffer practice was a good fit for the Pickrell Farm. With an existing buffer over 30’ wide already established, the practice will work in tandem with the new pattern tile system the landowner installed to manage nutrient losses. Running parallel to the ditch in the existing vegetated buffer, the saturated buffer lateral line totals just over 700’ in length and crosses one existing 12” tile outlet that was replaced with non-perforated pipe upstream and downstream for a specified distance to minimize negative impacts to the functionality of the practice (i.e. pathways for saturated buffer tile water to easily & quickly exit the soil profile before treatment occurs).
Illinois LICA would like to thank Jon Seevers and Seevers Farm Drainage for completing the saturated buffer installation on behalf of the Association, as well as all the partners and volunteers involved with both of these projects and the field day. Thank you also to Springfield Plastics and Agri Drain who supported the installation with donated and discounted materials. More information about the woodchip bioreactor installed last fall can be found at: https://www.illica.net/projects.