The Buffers Program is intended to help control nutrients such as: Nitrogen (N), Prosperous (P), Potassium (K) and runoff from farm fields into waterways on the Reservation such as Duck Creek and Oneida Creek. When Nutrients like N, P, and K reach waterways they can cause problems such as an algae bloom, which in turn can deplete the oxygen supply and carrying capacity of the water body for fish and other animals. Likewise, after a storm when the runoff from the farm fields reaches the waterway, it can be carrying a lot of sediment. This sediment then can be deposited in the stream bed and can potentially bury spawning areas for fish and invertibrates that are food for fish. Sediment in the waterways can also increases the temperature of cool water trout stream by absorbing more of the suns energy, making them unsuitable for trout to inhabit.
A buffer is a grass strip, typically 35 feet wide minimum, planted along a waterway. The buffer is then no longer farmed for crop production. The grasses that are planted in these buffer areas are a mix of brome grass, red clover, and Timothy. This mixture is intended to maximize the amount of N, P, and K uptake out of the runoff before the water reaches the waterways. After the buffers are installed they are maintained every other year by mowing to keep a good grass base and to keep woody plants, such as willow, out of the buffer areas.
To learn more about buffers, contact Jon Habeck at 920-869-4560.