Sustainable tree-shrub-grass buffer strips along waterways
The midwestern landscape, which formerly consisted of prairies, wetlands, and forests, is now primarily devoted to agricultural purposes. Unfortunately, the resulting large-scale agricultural production has also produced nonpoint source (NPS) pollution of water, alteration of waterways, and disruption of wildlife habitat. NPS pollution, whether by sediment, fertilizers, or pesticides, is a problem nationwide. The agricultural community has addressed this problem by increasing soil conservation efforts and improving chemical application practices. One Best Management Practice (BMP) is the use of riparian (streamside) vegetative filter strips on watersheds prone to such pollution. Most such filter strips to date consist primarily of cool-season grasses.