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Nonpoint source pollution

About: Nonpoint source pollution is a(n) research topic. Over the lifetime, 5706 publication(s) have been published within this topic receiving 117043 citation(s).

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Abstract: A conceptual, continuous time model called SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool) was developed to assist water resource managers in assessing the impact of management on water supplies and nonpoint source pollution in watersheds and large river basins. The model is currently being utilized in several large area projects by EPA, NOAA, NRCS and others to estimate the off-site impacts of climate and management on water use, nonpoint source loadings, and pesticide contamination. Model development, operation, limitations, and assumptions are discussed and components of the model are described. In Part II, a GIS input/output interface is presented along with model validation on three basins within the Upper Trinity basin in Texas.

5,785 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Agriculture and urban activities are major sources of phosphorus and nitrogen to aquatic ecosystems. Atmospheric deposition further contributes as a source of N. These nonpoint inputs of nutrients are difficult to measure and regulate because they derive from activities dispersed over wide areas of land and are variable in time due to effects of weather. In aquatic ecosystems, these nutrients cause diverse problems such as toxic algal blooms, loss of oxygen, fish kills, loss of biodiversity (including species important for commerce and recreation), loss of aquatic plant beds and coral reefs, and other problems. Nutrient enrichment seriously degrades aquatic ecosystems and impairs the use of water for drinking, industry, agriculture, recreation, and other purposes. Based on our review of the scientific literature, we are certain that (1) eutrophication is a widespread problem in rivers, lakes, estuaries, and coastal oceans, caused by overenrichment with P and N; (2) nonpoint pollution, a major source of P and N to surface waters of the United States, results primarily from agriculture and urban activity, including industry; (3) inputs of P and N to agriculture in the form of fertilizers exceed outputs in produce in the United States and many other nations; (4) nutrient flows to aquatic ecosystems are directly related to animal stocking densities, and under high livestock densities, manure production exceeds the needs of crops to which the manure is applied; (5) excess fertilization and manure production cause a P surplus to accumulate in soil, some of which is transported to aquatic ecosystems; and (6) excess fertilization and manure production on agricultural lands create surplus N, which is mobile in many soils and often leaches to downstream aquatic ecosystems, and which can also volatilize to the atmosphere, redepositing elsewhere and eventually reaching aquatic ecosystems. If current practices continue, nonpoint pollution of surface waters is virtually certain to increase in the future. Such an outcome is not inevitable, however, because a number of technologies, land use practices, and conservation measures are capable of decreasing the flow of nonpoint P and N into surface waters. From our review of the available scientific information, we are confident that: (1) nonpoint pollution of surface waters with P and N could be reduced by reducing surplus nutrient flows in agricultural systems and processes, reducing agricultural and urban runoff by diverse methods, and reducing N emissions from fossil fuel burning; and (2) eutrophication can be reversed by decreasing input rates of P and N to aquatic ecosystems, but rates of recovery are highly variable among water bodies. Often, the eutrophic state is persistent, and recovery is slow.

5,265 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: The accelerated eutrophication of most freshwaters is limited by P inputs. Nonpoint sources of P in agricultural runoff now contribute a greater portion of freshwater inputs, due to easier identification and recent control of point sources. Although P management is an integral part of profitable agrisystems, continued inputs of fertilizer and manure P in excess of crop requirements have led to a build-up of soil P levels, which are of environmental rather than agronomic concern, particularly in areas of intensive crop and livestock production. Thus, the main issues facing the establishment of economically and environmentally sound P management systems are the identification of soil P levels that are of environmental concern; targeting specific controls for different water quality objectives within watersheds; and balancing economic with environmental values. In developing effective options, we have brought together agricultural and limnological expertise to prioritize watershed management practices and remedial strategies to mitigate nonpoint-source impacts of agricultural P. Options include runoff and erosion control and P-source management, based on eutrophic rather than agronomic considerations. Current soil test P methods may screen soils on which the aquatic bioavailability of P should be estimated. Landowner options to more efficiently utilize manure P include basing application rates on soil vulnerability to P loss in runoff, manure analysis, and programs encouraging manure movement to a greater hectareage. Targeting source areas may be achieved by use of indices to rank soil vulnerability to P loss in runoff and lake sensitivity to P inputs.

1,384 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: The State of Texas has initiated the development of a Total Maximum Daily Load program in the Bosque River Watershed, where point and nonpoint sources of pollution are a concern. Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was validated for flow, sediment, and nutrients in the watershed to evaluate alternative management scenarios and estimate their effects in controlling pollution. This paper discusses the calibration and validation at two locations, Hico and Valley Mills, along the North Bosque River. Calibration for flow was performed from 1960 through 1998. Sediment and nutrient calibration was done from 1993 through 1997 at Hico and from 1996 through 1997 at Valley Mills. Model validation was performed for 1998. Time series plots and statistical measures were used to verify model predictions. Predicted values generally matched well with the observed values during calibration and validation (R2≥ 0.6 and Nash-Suttcliffe Efficiency ≥ 0.5, in most instances) except for some underprediction of nitrogen during calibration at both locations and sediment and organic nutrients during validation at Valley Mills. This study showed that SWAT was able to predict flow, sediment, and nutrients successfully and can be used to study the effects of alternative management scenarios.

1,274 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: The importance of P originating from agricultural sources to the nonpoint source pollution of surface waters has been an environmental issue for decades because of the well-known role of P in eutrophication. Most previous research and nonpoint source control efforts have emphasized P losses by surface erosion and runoff because of the relative immobility of P in soils. Consequently, P leaching and losses of P via subsurface runoff have rarely heen considered important pathways for the movement of agricultural P to surface waters. However, there are situations where environmentally significant export of P in agricultural drainage has occurred (e.g., deep sandy soils, high organic matter soils, or soils with high soil P concentrations from long-term overfertilization andlor excessive use of organic wastes). In this paper we review research on P leaching and export in subsurface runoff and present overviews of ongoing research in the Atlantic Coastal Plain of the USA (Delaware), the midwestern USA (Indiana), and eastern Canada (Quehec). Our objectives are to illustrate the importance of agricultural drainage to nonpoint source pollution of surface waters and to emphasize the need for soil and water conservation practices that can minimize P losses in suhsurface runoff.

1,064 citations

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