The Transforming Drainage Project addresses the need to provide more secure water for crops throughout the growing season while maintaining adequate drainage during wet periods and limiting nutrient losses from drained agricultural landscapes. The practice of storing water in the landscape will help address these needs and provide climate resiliency for agriculture. Limited and scattered data on drainage water storage need to be brought together, synthesized, made usable by producers and decision-makers, and used to transform future drainage systems. The objectives of this project include:
Strengthen and broaden the network to advance and coordinate research, extension, and implementation of drainage water storage systems
Determine economic and environmental benefits and costs of storing drainage water at field sites across the region.
Extend estimates of benefits and costs both temporally, accounting for future climate change, and spatially across the region
Develop strategies and tools to apply the research findings in decision-making on the farm, in watersheds, and in state and national policy
Extend the strategies and tools to agricultural producers, the drainage industry, watershed managers, agencies, and policy makers to bring about transformation of drainage strategies
Educate the next generation of engineers and scientists to design drainage systems that include storage in the landscape
The vision for this project is that the process of designing and implementing agricultural drainage will be transformed so that storing water in the landscape will be considered for every drainage system as a way to establish resilient and productive agricultural systems.
Our project team consists of leading drainage researchers and extension specialists across the Midwest, as well as modeling experts and social scientists who will strengthen the science and outreach related to water management issues facing agriculture in the Corn Belt. The project team includes internationally-known researchers for each of the drainage water storage practices, and the team together with collaborators includes Extension agricultural engineers in every state with widespread subsurface drainage. The social science component will focus on the economics of the drainage water storage practices, which research has shown is a key influence on farmer adoption of conservation practices. Our team also includes expertise in decision-support tools, including effective stakeholder involvement in their development. Our diverse team members will form the core of a broader network.
Transforming Drainage Team
Jane Frankenberger, Project Director, is an Extension Agricultural Engineer with expertise in drainage and water quality. In addition to providing overall leadership for the project, she will serve as the lead in developing project networks and co-lead Extension activities.
Ben Reinhart, Project Manager, is a Watershed Specialist with experience on conservation project development and implementation with local, state, and federal partners. He will provide coordination among Team Members across project objectives and develop project networks.
Eileen Kladivko, is a Soil Physicist with expertise in soil health, drainage and water quality. She will participate in research data collection and synthesis related to controlled drainage as well as the application of results through Extension and education.
Laura Bowling, is a Hydrologist with experience in climate variability analysis and drainage. She will lead the experimental site located at the Agronomy Center for Research and Education (ACRE) and participate in data synthesis and decision support tools.
Bernard Engel, is an Agricultural Engineer with expertise in developing water quality decision support tools. He will participate in extending results from this project into new decision support systems.
Linda Prokopy, is a Social Scientist with experience in stakeholder participation during decision support tool development. She will be involved in stakeholder involvement and evaluation of decision support systems.
North Dakota State University
Xinhua Jia, is an Agricultural Engineer with expertise in agricultural drainage and irrigation systems. She is currently monitoring two drainage water recycling sites and will be involved in data collection and synthesis related to this water management practice as well as serve as co-lead in education activities.
University of Missouri
Kelly Nelson, is an Agronomist with experience in irrigation and crop production and currently manages multiple drainage water recycling sites. He will serve as lead in research activities on drainage water recycling for this project and participate in Extension activities.
USDA – ARS
Dan Jaynes, is a Soil Physicist and leading researcher on saturated buffers and agricultural water quality related to hypoxia. He will serve as the research lead on saturated buffers for this project and participate in data synthesis.
Iowa State University
Matt Helmers, is an Extension Agricultural Engineer with expertise in drainage and water quality. He currently manages controlled drainage sites and will serve as the lead in data synthesis as well as participate in Extension activities.
Lori Abendroth, is an Agronomist with experience in research database management, project management, and crop production. She will be involved in developing project networks and establishing a research database encompassing the experimental sites involved in the project.
South Dakota State University
John McMaine, is an Extension Water Management Engineer with expertise in water quality. He currently works to coordinate and deliver Extension activities related to agricultural water management in South Dakota.
North Carolina State University
Mohamed Youssef, is an agricultural engineer with expertise in agricultural water management and computer modeling of crop production on drained land. He is currently the lead developer of the DRAINMOD suite of models. He manages drainage research sites in North Carolina and will lead the modeling component of the project.
University of Minnesota
Jeff Strock, is an Applied Soil Physicist with expertise in soil-water-plant relations, drainage water management, water quality and applied science education. In addition to participating in research data collection and synthesis related to controlled drainage and drainage water recycling, he will serve as the lead researcher in controlled drainage and co-lead education activities.
Larry Brown, is an Extension Agricultural Engineer with experience in education through the Overholt Drainage School and helped in developing the Wetland Reservoir Subirrigation System (WRSIS). He will participate in data collection and synthesis and education activities while also serving as co-lead for Extension activities.
Brent Sohngen, is an Agricultural Economist with expertise in farm management and climate change analysis. He will participate in data synthesis and economic analysis for decision support systems.