As rain storms become increasingly intense, water moves faster to creeks and rivers. Farm field tile systems increase that flow, moving water away from naturally wet areas as fast as possible, as they are designed to do.
As a result, the volume of water in streams rises and falls more often than it did before humans made changes on the land. This flashiness in streams increases erosion from streambanks. Water coming out of tiles can also carry high levels of nitrogen, phosphorous, and other crop inputs.
Le Sueur River Network steering committee members have invested time learning about this, including paddle trips with Minnesota DNR stream experts to learn the characteristics of a healthy river and what’s happening in their own area.
With a goal of keeping more water on the land longer, they are adjusting farm practices and investing in saturated buffers, wetland restoration, and strategically placed ponds.
Because neighbors take notice, steering committee members are also sharing what they’ve learned and advising others about how to implement practices.