Environmental groups have been pushing for regulators to build more wetlands, but farmers are reluctant to sacrifice land that could otherwise be used to grow more crops. Farmers prefer wood chip bioreactors to soak up nitrates from farm runoff, but they don’t do as well as wetlands at stemming high flows.
No one wants to mandate a certain practice - wetlands, bioreactors, cover crops, adjusting the timing of applying fertiliser–all of these things that we know help reduce nutrient loss,” said David. “But, because of this research, we know that wetlands are a longterm nitrate removal method that keeps on working with little greenhouse gas emission.”
“By building a wetland, farmers have an opportunity to make a substantial nitrate reduction in the transport of nitrate from their fields to the Gulf,” David added.
The work of David and his colleagues is detailed in the latest issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality – should any of you be intrested.