Buffers

Title

Buffers

Series Title

The Iowa Watershed Approach

Number

WQ 0029

Files

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Publication Date:

4-2018

Status

Current

Description

What are buffers?

Buffers are established areas of permanent vegetation, within and around fields, and are designed to intercept and filter sediment and nutrients out of surface runoff and shallow groundwater before entering a water course. The vegetation provides habitat for wildlife and creates a recreational and aesthetically pleasing area. One of the primary functions of buffers is to slow surface runoff, trapping 41-100% of the sediment and significantly reducing the phosphorus load. By slowing surface runoff and promoting infiltration, buffers delay downstream flooding and reduce streamflow by 10%. Additionally, when shallow groundwater interacts with the buffer’s root zone, biological processes can remove 48-85% of its nitrate-nitrogen; however, the percent of shallow groundwater that interacts with the root zone could be small. There are many types of buffers which are distinguished by their design and vegetative species, including: riparian forest buffer, filter strips, field borders, field windbreaks, grassed waterways, among others.

Language

en

Disclaimer

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach publications in the Iowa State University Digital Repository are made available for historical purposes only. The information contained in these publications may be out of date. For current publications and information from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, please visit

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