Regional Assessment of Nonpoint Source Phosphorus Loss to the Water Quality, Soils, Sediments and Plant Ecosystem

Participants

Yuji Arai (Environmental Soil Chemistry), the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences

Jeffrey Matthews (Plant Ecology), the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences

John Sloan (Watershed Scientist), National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, East Alton, IL.

Charlie Blake (RiverWatch Coordinator), National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, East Alton, IL.

Summary

Phosphorus loss from Midwestern agricultural fields has long been one of the leading causes of impairments in aquatic ecosystems of the U.S. A wide range of agricultural management practices has been proposed to reduce the nonpoint source P pollution, but there is great uncertainty about the seasonal P transport processes from agricultural and urban sources, legacy nutrient dynamics, and the impact of P on native ecosystems and water quality. Through this DSynergy program, baseline data will be collected at an on-campus site, which provides unique drainage networks to study the water quality, soil/sediment and plant ecosystems impacted by P loss from both urban and agricultural sources, to understand the long-term effects of agricultural practices and urban systems on P loading in soil, sediments, and riparian plant communities, and to determine seasonal P levels in ditch water and stream flows. We will also call public attention to the nonpoint source pollution issue by incorporating both urban and agricultural systems in an on-campus demonstration and training site. Understanding the spatial and temporal variation of nutrient loss from conventional farm and livestock based farm systems will allow us to better assess nutrient management in commercial production systems that will lead to sustainable agricultural practices while supporting the nutrient loss reduction strategies in the state of IL.

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