Iowa State University

Iowa State University

Environmental Science

Interdepartmental Graduate Program

Environmental Science Faculty

Matt Helmers Matthew Helmers

Associate Professor
Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering

4354 Elings Hall
Ames, IA 50011
tel: 515.294.6717
fax: 515.294.2255

Bio Sketch
My training is from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (PhD in Agricultural Engineering), Virginia Tech (MS in Civil Engineering), and Iowa State University (BS in Civil Engineering).

Research Interest
My research and extension focus at Iowa State is in the areas of water quality and water resources management.  In particular, I am studying water quality effects of agricultural best manage- ment practices including strategic placement and design of buffer systems and methods to improve water quality in tile drained landscapes.  I am active in investigating the impacts of cropping practices, fertilization practices, and subsurface drainage management practices on drainage water quality.  My Extension program is focused on education of producers and other stakeholders on the impacts of agricultural practices on water quality and methods to minimize these impacts.

Broader Impact of My Work
I work with farmers and other stakeholders within the state of Iowa to improve the understanding of the impacts of agriculture on water quality and to implement practices that have the potential to improve water quality in Iowa.

Key Words
Water quality, hydrology, subsurface drainage, buffer systems

Four Key Environmental Science Publications
  • Qi, Z., M.J. Helmers, R.D. Christianson, and C.H. Pederson. 2011. Nitrate-nitrogen losses through subsurface drainage under various agricultural land covers. Journal of Environmental Quality 40: 1578-1585
  • Qi, Z., M.J. Helmers, and A. Kaleita. 2011. Soil water dynamics under various land covers in Iowa. Agricultural Water Management 98(4): 665-674
  • Zhou, X., M.J. Helmers, H. Asbjornsen, R. Kolka, and M. Tomer. 2010. Perennial filter strips reduce nitrate levels in soil and shallow groundwater after grassland-to-cropland conversion. Journal of Environmental Quality 39(6): 2006-2015
  • Christianson, L., A. Bhandari, and M.J. Helmers. 2011. Pilot-scale evaluation of denitrification drainage bioreactors: Reactor geometry and performance. Journal of Environmental Engineering 137(4): 213-220

Grant Funding
Over the past three years, Dr. Helmers has served as the primary or co-investigator for approximately $4,806,034 in extramural research grant funding related to agricultural water resources.

Would you like to apply to work with Dr. Helmers?

Please see the following link.

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field day field day

Dr. Helmers hosting research site visits.

EnSci Graduate Program Office