Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
South Dakota State University, Plant Science Building, Box 2109, Brookings, SD 57007
Wetlands have generally been discounted as a valuable natural resource by proponents of intensive agriculture. The Prairie Pothole Region of eastern South Dakota retains many of its original wetlands plus many that were modified; other parts of the nation are not so fortunate. A comprehensive study evaluating the interrelationships between wetlands and three different agricultural systems (organic, transitional no-till, and conventional) has begun in South Dakota with a multidisciplinary team and close cooperation from farmers. This study will attempt to uncover relationships among ground-, wetland-, and upland-water using detailed water budgets. It will also look at nitrate and pesticide movement using environmentally safe tracers. These data will be correlated with agronomic parameters such as yield. Best management practices established from analyzing differences in wetland/agricultural systems will be developed. This study should provide information valuable to farmers interested in a sustainable resource.