Mars Harlan’s farm is eight miles south of Terre Haute along the Wabash River.
Farming is the only job he’s ever had, and over the years, he’s seen the Wabash flood many times, losing crops in the flooded lands. Recently, Harlan worked with The Nature Conservancy to start restoring natural habitats in these “marginal” floodplain lands.
“The land along the river is actually very good soil,” Harlan said. “If you could just keep the water off of it, it’s some of the best soil in the world. You just can’t count on it every year when the river comes in and takes your crops out. That’s what makes it marginal.”
Harlan and other farmers are working with the Conservancy to take their often-flooded lands out of production, restore natural habitat, and ultimately reduce the amount of nutrients and sediment in the Wabash River.
Harlan is featured in a new short video produced by The Nature Conservancy, which shows how the Conservancy is working with agriculture and industry to improve water quality. It also includes animation showing how nutrients can enter our waterways and make their way to the Gulf of Mexico.
The Conservancy has worked for decades to protect water quality in the Wabash River, a critical tributary of the Mississippi River Basin and a resource for drinking water, agriculture, industry and wildlife. Reducing nutrient runoff along the Wabash is part of the Conservancy’s system-wide strategy to improve water quality throughout the 31-state Mississippi River Basin and reduce excessive nutrient pollution that causes the Gulf of Mexico dead zone each year. With generous support from Nestlé Purina PetCare Company, the Conservancy has expanded its work along the Wabash and throughout the Mississippi River Basin to achieve a healthy source of clean water for both people and nature.