EDITOR’S NOTE: This press release has been updated from a version published on October 14, 2021 to include a recording of the webinar.
AMES, Iowa — The Iowa Learning Farms conservation webinar recorded Oct. 20 at noon CDT features Dr. Sara McMillan, associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue University. McMillan’s research focuses on the impacts of agriculture and urbanization on how nutrients flow through living systems and their physical environments. She also studies the impact on ecosystem function in transitional areas between the land and water such as wetlands, floodplains and small streams.
In the webinar, “Ecosystem Function of Wetlands in Midwestern Agricultural Landscapes,” McMillan draws on her field and laboratory-based approaches, as well as data-driven modeling experiences to highlight watershed ecosystem effects on downstream users. She shares ongoing work from her group as well as others in the Midwest that are studying the role wetlands play in an agricultural landscape. The session provides insights into identifying the environmental factors that control ecosystem functions to enable better management of existing wetlands, as well as inform decisions on construction or restoration of wetlands for uses including irrigation, animal watering or recreation.
“Wetlands, floodplains and small streams are hot spots that have more positive impacts on water per land area than most other land uses,” said McMillan. “These wetland ecosystems are often the most vulnerable to changing land use and climate but also have a disproportional impact on downstream users, including flood storage, water quality, biodiversity and climate regulation. Increasing understanding of these ecosystems will help guide land use models and decisions that can benefit all stakeholders.”
About Iowa Learning Farms:
Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation by encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable. Partners of Iowa Learning Farms include the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources, EPA Section 319 Grant Program and GROWMARK, Inc.
— Iowa Learning Farms
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