Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Nabbing Nitrates: Before Water Leaves the Farm

These videos were produced for M&M Divide Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) with support from the Leopold Center and 13 collaborating groups. The four short videos show what happens below the ground to remove nitrates from water when varioius conservation practices are used. Other important information about this project

Conservation Drainage

Smart drainage: Tile drainage can be turned on and off with water structures.

Time: 2:16

Riparian Forest Buffers

Cutting nitrates: Riparian buffers cut nitrates and phosphorus from both overland flow and underground water.

Time: 3:50

Working Wetlands

At work: Working wetlands are designed to specifically remove nitrates from runoff and tile waters.

Time: 2:55


Trenched woodchips: Buried woodchips are the key to a bioreactor.

Time: 3:50

Other information about this project

Where to get copies of these videos:

Soil & Water Conservation Districts and NRCS offices in the six counties served by M&M Divide received copies of the videos, which can be checked out for viewing. They are: Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Green, Guthrie and Sac. NRCS offices in 25 Iowa counties (targeted as part of the Iowa Mississippi River Basin Initiative) also have copies of the video that can be checked out for viewing.

Iowa high school ag instructors:

The Leopold Center purchased the videos for Iowa high school and community college ag instructors to use in their classrooms. Details in this news release

Partner sponsors:

Partner sponsors who helped fund the series with cash and in-kind donations include: the Des Moines Water Works, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa Department of Agriculture – Soil Conservation Division, Agri Drain Corporation, Raccoon River Watershed Association, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Soil & Water Conservation Society, Carroll County Extension Council, Carroll County Soil & Water Conservation District, the Iowa Conservation Education Coalition and the Iowa chapter of the Soil & Water Conservation Society.