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Wood Chip Bioreactor Installed at Eastern Shore Farm
Northeast Region, June 10, 2014
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Wood chip bioreactors remove nutrients from agricultural sources and improve water for fish and other aquatic life
Wood chip bioreactors remove nutrients from agricultural sources and improve water for fish and other aquatic life - Photo Credit: Rich Mason USFWS

Partner for Fish and Wildlife Program biologists worked with several partners to install a wood chip bioreactor on Oakland View Farms in Caroline County, MD to treat nutrient-laden dairy irrigation water as it drains into Tuckahoe Creek, a tributary of the Choptank River. Less nutrients means improved underwater habitat for submerged aquatic vegetation, blue crabs and other invertebrates, herring, striped bass, shorebirds and waterfowl.

 

Water from a manure lagoon is siphoned off and irrigated onto crops. The water percolates into the ground and the groundwater moves toward the bioreactor. Water is also collected from the dairy barn areas and channeled through a pipe to the bioreactor. In addition to the bioreactor, runoff and switchgrass buffers were planted to adsorb nutrients.

Woodchip bioreactors and bioreactor walls have been used extensively in the midwest, United States. Water quality monitoring by partners will determine the efficiency of this bioreactor. Should this technology prove worthwhile, it can easily be replicated on other farms and may be considered for cost-share Best Management Practices in Maryland. Partners included Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

For more information contact:
Rich Mason
410/573-4584
rich_mason@fws.gov


Contact Info: Kathryn Reshetiloff, 410-573-4582, kathryn_reshetiloff@fws.gov



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