The Roundup -

Pipeline Reclamation Project to be Discussed at WREC Dryland Field Day


Pipeline under construction in a field in McKenzie County, ND.

During the Williston Research Center's Dryland Field Day, Wednesday, July 10th, Tom DeSutter, will be giving an update on the Pipeline Reclamation Project that the Williston Research Center has been conducting since the spring of 2015.

Dr. DeSutter is an Assistant Professor and Soil Scientist at the School of Natural Resource Sciences. He obtained his Bachelor's and Master's of Science degrees from South Dakota State University and received a Ph.D. from Kansas State University in 2004. He acquired his current position at NDSU in 2006 while serving in a post­doctoral position at the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, Ames, Iowa.

Soil disturbance during the construction of pipelines, roadways, and well pads has become a severe issue in western North Dakota. Within cropland, soil health and yields need to be restored during the reclamation process. Reclamation of pipelines in a cropland setting has not been extensively researched, and little is known about the best management practices for restoring crop yields of affected areas.

During the spring of 2015, a 36" water pipeline was installed at the Williston Research Center. The pipeline is approximately 1.25 miles long, running north to south, entirely across the Williston Research Extension Center's cropland. Soil disturbance occurred 100 ft on the east and west sides of the pipeline. Researchers and scientist at the WREC have been conducting studies on this affected area, so far they have been using cropping rotations and perennial covers to evaluate long-term reclamation techniques.

In addition to cropping sequence, ripping/manure is being tested as the subplot in a split-plot design in efforts to decrease compaction and add organic matter. This study is designed to address the barriers to successful pipeline reclamation. The goal of the study is to provide long-term management strategies for landowners to restore productivity to cropland. If economical reclamation options are available to stakeholders, more effective reclamation plans can be composed, and more efficient pipeline installations will be possible. Preliminary results indicate soil compaction and crop yields are significantly different between disturbance areas. Additional soil and plant data collection will determine differences between ripping, ripping/manure, and no-till subplots.

If you would like to know more about the Pipeline Reclamation Project and what scientists and researchers at the Williston Research Center have been and will be performing this year, come check out the 2019 WREC Dryland Field Day!


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