Water-Quality Project Underway in Buchanan County

November 22, 2016

Matthew Streeter on a dirt road

IGS soil scientist Matthew Streeter at work in the Lime Creek Watershed in Buchanan County.

A new project funded by the Iowa Nutrient Research Center aims to understand the nutrient reduction benefits of roadside ditches. Dr. Keith Schilling from the Iowa Geological Survey at the University of Iowa leads the study, which is being conducted in the Lime Creek Watershed in Buchanan County near Independence.

Researchers selected six roadside ditches in the watershed for the study. At each site, they collected soil samples and installed shallow water table wells to evaluate soil and groundwater quality. Schilling and his team anchored all the wells to posts and marked them with orange paint for visual identification. Snowmobilers traveling in the ditches are advised to be alert for these posts.

Staff from the Iowa Geological Survey will collect samples from the ditch sites on a monthly frequency throughout 2017. The study, which includes partners from Coe College and University of Northern Iowa Tallgrass Prairie Center, will conclude in 2018.

The Iowa Geological Survey is part of IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering, a research institute within the University of Iowa College of Engineering.