The small wetland near the road improves the quality and decreases the quantity of nearly all the runoff leaving the farm. The wetland was first built in 2002, but it had a tough life and had to be rebuilt in 2012, this time without an island (Canada goose baby nursery!) in the middle. It's been seeded with native prairie wildflowers and grasses that are one day going to be fantastic, but for the first year or so, will look a lot like weeds. With some mowing and burning, things will get better.
The primary pollutant of Iowa's surface water is soil. Small upland wetlands like the one at Abbe Hills Farm catch soil that might otherwise wash away by forcing runoff water to stand still for a while, allowing soil particles to settle out. Plant nutrients dissolved in the water are removed by the plants, like cattails, that live along the edge of the shallow wetland and by the roots of the native plants in the small restored prairie that surrounds the wetland. Small upland wetlands like this will one day be used all over Iowa to improve the quality and manage the quantity of the water that leaves our farms. Slowing water down and allowing it to soak into the soil also recharges our underground water at the same time that it significantly reduces the probability of damaging downstream flooding.