is drain tile?
tile is underground pipe of varying diameters, most often placed in crop
fields that are very flat, so excess water will drain more efficiently
to the nearest creek, ditch, or river. The benefit of an effective drainage
system is increased agricultural productivity.
What is it made of?
the late 1800s, tile was made of clay and placed in hand-dug, shallow
trenches above the frost line. Because the tile was made of clay, most
original tiles have broken and are difficult to find because drainage
systems weren’t mapped. Today, drainage tile is made of corrugated
plastic and is installed by machines that trench and lay the tile quickly
(up to 30 feet per minute).
is water drainage necessary?
In this region of the United States, rain often pools in low lying areas
because of the high annual rainfall (about 30 inches), the relatively
flat landscape, and soil types high in clay. Actually, most of this area
of Nicollet County was wetlands when settlers first arrived. Early farmers,
in cooperation with their neighbors, dug drainage ditches and laid clay
tiles to make the land suitable for agriculture.
has the landscape changed with drainage?
Within the past 100 years, dramatic hydrologic changes have taken place
in the Seven Mile Creek Watershed. Major documented changes include the
installation of sub-surface drainage systems and the subsequent loss of
wetlands to cropland:
- In about
100 years (from the mid-1800s to 1938), 5,700 acres of wetland in the
Seven Mile Creek Watershed were converted to cultivated cropland;
- In the
next 50 years (from 1938-1990), 5,300 more acres of wetland were converted
to cultivated cropland.