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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Impact and Control of Agricultural Runoff

Authors
item Vellidis, George - U. OF GA
item Smith, Matthew - U. OF GA
item Lowrance, Robert

Submitted to: Stormwater
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 15, 2003
Publication Date: June 30, 2003
Citation: Vellidis, G., Smith, M.C., Lowrance, R.R. 2003. Impact and control of agricultural runoff. Stormwater. 4:42-45.

Interpretive Summary: Agricultural nonpoint source pollution is the primary cause of pollution in U.S. lakes and streams and the third largest cause of pollution to U.S. estuaries and coastal waters. Surface runoff and groundwater from agriculture are responsible for increased amounts of sediments, nutrients, and pesticides reaching water bodies. Although source controls have had notable successes, it will be necessary to use both source controls and landscape-based controls to reduce the levels of agricultural nonpoint source pollution to acceptable levels. Source controls include conservation tillage techniques, nutrient management, and runoff control. Landscape level controls include vegetated filter strips, wetlands, and riparian buffers. Landscape level controls lead to long term, perhaps permanent, changes in the structure and function of agricultural landscapes and watersheds. Riparian forest buffers perform multiple functions including control of sediment and sediment borne pollutants, control of nitrate in subsurface flow, control of dissolved phosphorus, and control of the stream environment.

Technical Abstract: Because of large reductions in point source pollution over the past 30 years, agricultural nonpoint source pollution is the primary cause of pollution in U.S. lakes and streams and the third largest cause of pollution to U.S. estuaries and coastal waters. Surface runoff and groundwater from agriculture are responsible for increased amounts of sediments, nutrients, and pesticides reaching water bodies. Source controls are designed to reduce the edge of field loading of these pollutants. Although source controls have had notable successes, it will be necessary to use both source controls and landscape-based controls to reduce the levels of agricultural nonpoint source pollution to acceptable levels. Source controls include conservation tillage techniques, nutrient management, manure management, and runoff control. Landscape level controls include vegetated filter strips, wetlands, and riparian buffers. Landscape level controls lead to long term, perhaps permanent, changes in the structure and function of agricultural landscapes and watersheds. Riparian forest buffers perform multiple functions including control of sediment and sediment borne pollutants, control of nitrate in subsurface flow, control of dissolved phosphorus, and control of the stream environment.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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