You are hereSolutions Generator Agricultural Run-off Bioswale Research Project: Phase II
Solutions Generator Agricultural Run-off Bioswale Research Project: Phase II
For the second year in a row, our research team is working through the Institute for Sustainable Solutions's (ISS) Solutions Generator funding opportunity. Each year the Solutions Generator program awards grants to help fund student projects which focus on sustainability solutions on campus and in the community.
A little over a year ago, our team expressed interest in studying the effects of implementing a bioswale onto an existing agricultural site in an effort to capture and remove the residue of fertilizers (Nitrogen, Phosphorous) that contribute to the eutrophication of aquatic systems. Last Winter, in Phase I of our project, we were able to secure just a site in Sherwood, Oregon, at a farm that grows produce used in PSU's Dining Services. The owner of the farm, Jim Baggenstos, graciously agreed to let us use a portion of his property to conduct our research. The site proved to be most ideal as it lies at the bottom of two converging slopes of agricultural farmland. During the course of the project's funded time frame, we were able to survey the area, stake out the proposed site of the bioswale, take baseline water samples from the run-off, and construct a sign for the farm's visitors stating the project's purpose and goals.
Over the course of the next several months, our team kept busy at the site, preparing it for Phase II. The dry Summer months provided us with an opportunity to eradicate invasive reed canary grass from our project site. In the Fall, we were able to frame the bioswale using dead and downed logs retrieved on site. We then laid a coconut fiber matting within the frame and scattered native grass and forb mix seeds. Our last efforts of 2012 included the harvesting and planting of native shrubs (pacific willow, red elderberry, and redosier dogwood) on site to line the sides of the framed bioswale. Continuous water sampling was conducted throughout the Summer and Fall months.
Thanks to the Solutions Generator program, we are currently working in Phase II of our project. Our team's current efforts are focused on anchoring the bioswale in place, continued efforts to keep invasive plant species from the site, and the planting of nearly 1000 native wetland plugs within the biosawle channel. As will continue to be the case, water sampling will be conducted throughout the life of the project. Once the vegetation in the swale roots, takes hold, and matures, future water samples will be measured against baseline and other previous samples to find if the project idea is a viable alternative to combat the deleterious effects of fertilizer run-off.
This coming week, our team will be visiting the site to plant more native wetland plugs and perform site maintenance. We are offering anyone who would like to join us and volunteer at the site to contact project co-lead, Bobby Nuvolini, for directions or to ask any questions. We are planning to meet at the farm between 3-5 pm next Thursday, February 28th (note: fairly saturated area, knee/hip boots or waders are suggested). It looks to be a busy day at the site and we are expecting PSU's newspaper "The Vanguard" to be at the farm to write a story on our project. Please send volunteer requests to . Thanks!