4-H Science of Agriculture: Water Quality Team

4-H Science of Agriculture: Water Quality Team


My team and I are researching the water
quality of the Minnesota River, as the river runs right through our community
of Scott County, we think it’s an issue very close to our
hearts. We are researching how to make a water filtration system that we can put
onto end of a drain tile. It can take out all different types of
minerals and nutrients that affect the Minnesota River quality. We are testing the phosphorus and the
nitrogen in the water and just seeing if our filtration system can help reduce
that amount of phosphorus and nitrogen to make the water healthier. So, our
system uses wood chips and sand infused with iron and so we believe that with
these two simple ingredients our system could be easily scaled up to be
implemented on a small farm in our county. Our mentor is Jesse Theis from Rahr in Shakopee and he’s just been really great to help teach us about this experience
as Rahr has their own water treatment facility. We’ve been able to tour
that facility and he’s just giving us a lot of good advice on our models. He’s also been able to connect us with
different resources for research that we’ve had. We need to understand more about what it
is that contributes to water quality. What are the negative effects on water quality There are obviously companies and others, like
municipalities, that discharge to the Minnesota River. But the real reason that there’s issues
with the nutrients is the oversupply coming from the ag sector. So as a
farmer, someone who farms in the watershed in the Minnesota river, that was
important to me too. I’m thinking i might want to go
out down the roads of education, so knowing a background of where I grew up
and different ways agriculture has affected it, it helps me
in the classroom being a better teacher to the kids around it. Next year I plan on going to the
University of Minnesota to study sustainable systems management. Being
able to do this project has just helped me ignite my passion for sustainability
systems and for helping the environment.

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