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Vermont Subsurface Agricultural Tile Drainage Report

January 31, 2017

Download the final Vermont Subsurface Agricultural Tile Drainage Report

A Letter from the Secretaries

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (AAFM) and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) are pleased to submit this Subsurface Agricultural Tile Drainage Report to the Vermont Legislature.  This report summarizes currently available tile drain research, the process the agencies used to solicit input and gather information on the current status of tile drainage in Vermont from local stakeholders and experts, a series of management options for tile drain management intended to mitigate adverse impacts to water quality, and recommendations for how best to implement each option.  Additionally, the report identifies research and resource needs to further improve and enhance our understanding of the function and potential impacts of tile drainage. 

Both Agencies remain committed to the collaborative implementation of Act 64 and the Phase 1 Implementation Plan for Lake Champlain, as well as to the maintenance and protection of water quality throughout the state.  This report represents our collective understanding and proposed response to an issue that presents unique opportunities and challenges – requiring creative ideas, continued scientific inquiry, landowner and partner input, and a strong resolve to protect water quality throughout Vermont.

We are grateful to the Lake Champlain Basin Program for allowing the use of the draft Literature Review: Tile Drainage and Phosphorus Losses from Agricultural Land, a project completed by Stone Environmental, Inc. in September, 2016.

We also want to thank the members of the Tile Drain Advisory Group, which was convened immediately following the release of the draft literature review, and brought together a diverse group of stakeholders, including farmers/land stewards, environmental consulting organizations, agronomists and agricultural technical service providers, environmental advocacy organizations, and state and federal agency representatives.