A Path Forward for Using Private and Public Drains to Improve Water Flows and Water Quality in the Great Lakes Basin Through Coordinated Management.

A team of farmers, drain managers, legal experts, hydrologists, conservation practitioners, and policy makers from across the Great Lakes have developed a path forward for the use of  private (in-field tiling) drain water management (DWM) and publicly-engineered drain ditches to improve flow regimes and water quality in Great Lakes basin tributaries. This process was informed by an overview of the hydrological context of the Western Lake Erie Basin and Saginaw Valley, and legal analyses of current drainage law and environmental law in order to explore the context and financial risk to public and private drain managers. Collectively, the team has identified opportunities for coordinated drainage management at sub-watershed and watershed scales through new and existing programs and policies.