Demonstration and Education of Best Management Practices at Waterman Farm

Project Overview

The Ohio State University's Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Farm is located in Columbus, Ohio. It lies in the Olentangy River watershed, which is a major tributary to the Scioto River and serves as the headwaters to the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico.

In 2010, Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District, in collaboration with The Ohio State University Extension's Ohio NEMO program, Ohio State's Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed, began development and implementation of an agricultural best management practices demonstration and education site with funding from Ohio EPA's 319 Grant Program.

The Problem

The section of the Olentangy River that Waterman Farm outlets to is the most impaired section of the entire 93-mile long river and is not meeting its designated Warmwater Habitat aquatic life use status. Major impairments include flow alteration, nutrients, urbanization, and low head dam impoundments (Olentangy River TMDL report, 2006).

Prior to receiving Ohio EPA 319 grant funding cattle were allowed access to the stream, pastures were under-utilized and grazing quality was low, and no infrastructure was in place to improve manure and milkhouse wash management.

The Goal

The key project goal was to initiate a demonstration and education site on Waterman Farm that would highlight a broad range of agricultural best management practices extending from the barn to the field to the ditch to reduce nonpoint source impacts to the Olentangy River.

Specific Objectives

  1. Demonstrate in-field and in-stream agricultural BMPs that could be effective in reduce sediment, bacteria, nitrogen, phosphorus and stormwater runoff to the Olentangy River.
  2. Install BMPs including drainage ditch enhancement, cattle exclusion fencing, dairy pasture improvements, and infrastructure for manure management to improve farm operations and reduce impacts to water quality.
  3. Use the BMPs to initiate a comprehensive conservation management plan for the farm.
  4. Leverage additional funding to monitor and research the effectiveness of the BMPs.