In rural landscapes, install two-stage ditches where feasible on both regulated and non-regulated drains.

Two-stage ditches are drainage ditches that have been modified by adding benches that serve as floodplains within the overall channel. This form is more consistent with natural stream processes, and therefore leads to greater channel stability. The benches can also function as wetlands during certain times of the year, reducing ditch nutrient loads. This results in a more sustainable ditch that restores some of the beneficial natural processes within the ditch environment while providing the drainage capacity necessary for production.

The two-stage ditch in these before and after photos is approximately a 2,600 feet in DeKalb County.  This ditch is an extension of a preexisting two-stage ditch, creating approximately 3,800 continuous feet of two-stage ditch. Funding was provided by the Environmental Quality Incentives Program under Farm Bill funding. The preexisting two-stage ditch was put in by The Nature Conservancy in 2010.