|Vegetated drainage ditches|
My interest in vegetated agricultural drainage ditches (VADDs) began in 1996 with my thesis research under the supervision of Dr. Jerry Farris at Arkansas State University. In 1998 with the assistance of Dr. Charlie Cooper (ARS-retired) and Mr. Sammie Smith (ARS-retired), we began a focused water quality research program on ditches within the Water Quality and Ecology Research Unit of the USDA-ARS National Sedimentation Laboratory. While our initial studies focused solely on pesticide fate and effects in ditch systems, current active Unit research includes nutrient mitigation, mathematical modeling efforts, microbial diversity, bioassessments, biofilms, and plant physiology - all within the banks of vegetated drainage ditches.
Through collaborative efforts based on our research, the state of California has granted the use of vegetated agricultural drainage ditches as an Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP)-approved practice. Farmers and landowners can utilize this practice with cost-sharing conservation programs offered through the state NRCS office. If you would like more information on this practice or a specification requirements sheet, please click on the links below.