Iowa Learning Farms Webinar Scheduled

The Iowa Learning Farms conservation webinar taking place April 13 at noon CDT will feature Mark Mitchell, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education postdoctoral researcher with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Mitchell is an environmental scientist who is currently working with Iowa stakeholders and EPA researchers to assess potential benefits and trade-offs associated with wetland restoration and agricultural drainage improvements.

Mark Mitchell
Mark Mitchell


His expertise in modeling and measuring ecosystems has enabled a closer look at habitat and biodiversity implications in Iowa. Iowa Learning Farms is an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach conservation and water quality education program based at Iowa State University.

In the webinar, “Habitat Implications of Agricultural Drainage Improvements and Wetland Restoration in Iowa,” Mitchell will discuss the long-term decline in biodiversity caused in part by human population growth and agricultural activities. He will highlight results of research in some 37 catchments distributed throughout the Des Moines Lobe of Iowa in which four scenarios were considered – with and without improved drainage and with and without water quality wetlands – to estimate the net potential habitat implications for amphibians, waterfowl, grassland birds and wild bees.

“Addressing and understanding complex ecosystem services is increasingly important as we make efforts to improve water quality through land management solutions, which can serve to not only address water and drainage concerns, but can also improve and restore natural habitat for multiple wildlife species,” said Mitchell. “We have observed that wetlands designed to provide both water quality benefits and wetland and grassland habitat are an emerging restoration solution that may reverse habitat declines in intensive agricultural areas. This is particularly important as stakeholders upgrade aging drainage infrastructure to improve crop yields.”

Participants in Iowa Learning Farms Conservation Webinars are encouraged to ask questions of the presenters. People from all backgrounds and areas of interest are encouraged to join.

Webinar access instructions

To participate in the live webinar, shortly before noon CDT April 13:

The webinar will also be recorded and archived on the ILF website, so that it can be watched at any time. Archived webinars are available online.

A Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit has been applied for. Those who participate in the live webinar are eligible. Information about how to apply to receive the CEU will be provided at the end of the live webinar.

Upcoming Webinars in the Series
4/13: Mark Mitchell, U.S. EPA
4/20: Keith Schilling, Iowa Geological Survey
4/27: Aria McLauchlan, Land Core


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