CONTROLLED TILE DRAINAGE IN RENFREW COUNTY
For summer/fall 2016, the MWC received funding through the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund, funded by the MOECC, to support controlled tile drainage (CTD) installations in Renfrew County. Algonquin College’s Office of Applied Research also received funding through the Best Management Practices Verification and Demonstration Fund from the Ontario Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) to implement CTD demonstration sites in Renfrew County.
Together, the MWC and Algonquin College installed a total of 5 CTD structures on 3 farm properties. Two were installed on the Egan farm, two on the Enright farm, and one larger drain was installed on the Raddatz farm. These CTD sites were selected because they are adjacent to areas where water quality is of concern.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada provided support throughout pre- and post-installation. Agri-Can has been testing the effectiveness of CTD structures for holding back water in the field and decreasing the amount of nutrients at end-of-pipe for over 10-years in South Nation, near Ottawa. They’ve also researched the link between CTD and crop yield increases. For more information about Controlled Tile Drainage, click here to read an article written by two of our project partners, Dr. David Lapen and Mark Sunohara of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada or check out the video below.
Drainage Contractor, Peter Neill, of Water Management Systems, Inc. (pictured left) performed the installations. These were the first CTD installations of their kind in Renfrew County.
Agri-Can also loaned two automated samplers to Algonquin College. These, along with a weather station measuring temperature, wind speed, rain, and soil moisture, were installed on the Egan site, which will function as the main site for data collection. However, all sites will be used to collect information on the effectiveness of CTD. Real-time data loggers were also installed inside each CTD structure to collect information on flow and discharge rates. The goal is that - if proven to be effective for Renfrew County (meaning there is a benefit to both the environment and the farmer) - other farmers may adopt the technology over time.
The MWC Muskrat Lake Watershed Water Quality Report (2014) recommended that the implementation of CTD on farmland adjacent to troubled waterways could work as one solution toward improving water quality. The MWC, in adopting multi-pronged approach toward water quality issues, sees this as one solution to compliment many others.