ARS is a leader in the design and implementation of cutting edge, nature-based solutions to some of the complex environmental challenges associated with agriculture. We identify and design innovative solutions from denitrifying bioreactors to cascading treatment wetlands. ARS sets the standard for agricultural conservation practices. We assist landowners to obtain cost share when available and have established creative partnerships with farmers that can lead to impactful projects that generate a twenty-year income stream.
CEO, Drew Koslow, formed ARS to help farmers address excess nitrogen, not utilized by crops. ARS has built 11 denitrifying bioreactors and demonstrated that bioreactors are a cost-effective tool for removing nitrogen from water. ARS is partnering with farmers to implement nitrogen reducing practices and to provide farmers with a predictable income stream in a highly variable occupation.
Our business model is based on the establishment of partnerships with farmers in which we share the costs of design and construction of projects and share the profits generated.
ARS partners with farmers, NRCS, Universities and NGO’s to implement landscape scale conservation practices. We utilize nature-based solutions to create efficient, effective and functional projects.
Koslow brought denitrifying bioreactors to Maryland and has built 11 of them. They are nature-based practices that are cost-effective and highly efficient at removing nitrogen from water. What makes them unique is that nitrogen reductions can be directly measured by sampling at the inlet and the outlet. By measuring flow, the removal rate can be easily calculated. This adds 100% transparency to the practice efficiency and nitrogen removal.
ARS also has experience with design,
permitting and construction of:
- Denitrifying Bioreactors
- Denitrification walls
- Phosphorus-sorbing filters
- In-line water control structures
- Cascading Wetland Systems
- Bioretention (in field)
By constructing bioreactors near the source of the excess nitrogen before it flows downstream, the watershed is protected from these detrimental effects. Bioreactors work using natural materials and processes and are highly effective at promoting removal of nitrogen from the water.
ARS worked with many partners including USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Harrisonburg Office, Virginia Tech, The Smith Creek Partnership & US Geological Survey to construct this project that reduces nitrogen flows to Smith Creek.
The treated water is discharged into a rock spillway to reoxygenate it before it returns to the stream.
In areas with elevated nitrogen levels in groundwater, a single spring can discharge tens of thousands of pounds of nitrogen each year.
By diverting the springs into a bioreactor, thousands of pounds of nitrogen can be reduced in a cost effective manner. Spring bioreactors are highly efficient and operate for approximately fifteen years. A single bioreactor treating between a quarter of a million and one million gallons of spring flow each day can be expected to remove between 1,500 and 12,000 pounds of nitrogen each year.
ARS partnered with The town of Harrisonburg, Virginia had a diversion in place to take water from Sieberts Creek into a pond in Purcell Park. We intercepted the pipe and diverted the water into a bioreactor. The water is retained there for 8 hours before flowing to Black’s Run. This project protects the North River. On the Yancey farm, east of Harrisonburg, we constructed a second spring bioreactor in 2020 with a similar design, removing excess nitrogen from the Smith Creek Headwaters Spring, Smith Creek and the Shenandoah River.
We estimate that the Sieberts Creek project alone will remove 1365 lbs of nitrogen per year from Blacks Run, which drains to the North River. Similarly effective nitrogen removal is expected from the Yancey Farm bioreactor treating the Smith Creek Headwaters Spring. Researchers from Virginia Tech have documented the Yancey project removing approximately 1,200 pounds of nitrogen per year.
Massey Farm Cascading Wetland System
Partners: Harbor View Farms, Sassafras River Association, Ridge to Reefs
Funders: Maryland Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund and Maryland 319 funds
Cascading Wetlands Treatment System
These practices supercharge the treatment properties of wetlands and enable them to be utilized in large drainage areas. Our cascading wetland systems maximize the treatment in watersheds that range from 75-100 acres.
2015 aerial image of the project area. The dark shaded drainage was previously maintained as buffer because of the unmanaged runoff draining to it.
Wetland cell one 2022
Wetland cell 3, 2022