Strips of prairie plants slow loss of soil, nutrients and water, double biodiversity

photo: Matt Helmers from Iowa State University. Strips of prairie plants slow loss of soil, nutrients and water from ag fields while doubling biodiversity

Matt Helmers from Iowa State University discusses STRIPS near a flume. Photo by Jane Hodgins, US Forest Service.

Newtown Square, PA, October 2, 2017 – A clean white plastic flume in an Iowa soybean field is testimony to a novel and possibly heretical idea: prairie plants, once plowed under by farmers growing corn and soybeans in the Midwest, yield benefits for farmers as well as the environment when integrated with … [more…]

Farmers drawing groundwater from Ogallala Aquifer faster than nature replaces it

drought map: Farmers are drawing groundwater from the giant Ogallala Aquifer faster than nature replaces it

Every summer the U.S. Central Plains go dry, leading farmers to tap into groundwater to irrigate sorghum, soy, cotton, wheat and corn and maintain large herds of cattle and hogs. As the heat rises, anxious irrigators gather to discuss whether and how they should adopt more stringent conservation measures.

They know that if they do not conserve, the Ogallala Aquifer, the source of their prosperity, will go dry.

The Ogallala, … [more…]

Water under Colorado’s Eastern Plains running dry as farmers keep irrigating “great American desert”

The water under Colorado’s Eastern Plains is running dry as farmers keep irrigating “great American desert”

WRAY — Colorado farmers who defied nature’s limits and nourished a pastoral paradise by irrigating drought-prone prairie are pushing ahead in the face of worsening environmental fallout:

Overpumping of groundwater has drained the High Plains Aquifer to the point that streams are drying up at the rate of 6 miles a year. The drawdown has become so severe that highly resilient fish are disappearing, evidence of ecological collapse.

A Denver … [more…]