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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Nutrient Cycles in the Southern Piedmont: a Workbook for Managing Nutrients at the Watershed Scale

Authors
item Franklin, Dorcas
item Cabrera, M - UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA
item Franzluebbers, Alan
item Risse, L - UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA
item Seman, Dwight
item Steiner, Jean
item Stuedemann, John
item Wilkinson, S - USDA-ARS RETIRED

Submitted to: Complete Book
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: September 4, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: In recent years, awareness of water quality problems has grown in the Southern Piedmont and throughout the U.S. and the world. As major point sources of pollution decreased, such as from factories, municipalities, or mines, we became more aware of pollutants that move diffusely from the land into water bodies. Agriculture occupies a great deal of land in many major watersheds, and, depending on management practices, can contribute sediments, nutrients (such as nitrate-N, phosphorus, or other elements), or chemicals, to water bodies. Such pollution, termed "non- point source" (NPS) pollution in the 1972 Water Quality Act, is, by definition, difficult to measure or to attribute to specific sources or activities. Better knowledge is needed about amounts of pollutants associated with agricultural systems as well as effectiveness of recommended practices in controlling contamination. Without such knowledge, blame may be laid in the wrong place and solutions to problems will be elusive. To control non-point source pollution of our streams and lakes will require commitment of numerous individuals to change their own personal land management practices. This workbook was developed to train farmers, educators, and students about the water, carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycles and about ecological processes that link agricultural management practices to water quality. We believe that improved understanding of how specific practices might contribute to water pollution will be a strong motivating factor for individuals to decide to change their personal practices (be they agricultural or household) to protect our water resources for everyone.

Technical Abstract: In recent years, awareness of water quality problems has grown in the Southern Piedmont and throughout the U.S. and the world. As major point sources of pollution decreased, such as from factories, municipalities, or mines, we became more aware of pollutants that move diffusely from the land into water bodies. Agriculture occupies a great deal of land in many major watersheds, and, depending on management practices, can contribute sediments, nutrients (such as nitrate-N, phosphorus, or other elements), or chemicals, to water bodies. Such pollution, termed "non-point source" (NPS) pollution in the 1972 Water Quality Act, is, by definition, difficult to measure or to attribute to specific sources or activities. Better knowledge is needed about amounts of pollutants associated with agricultural systems as well as effectiveness of recommended practices in controlling contamination. Without such knowledge, blame may be laid in the wrong place and solutions to problems will be elusive. To control non-point source pollution of our streams and lakes will require commitment of numerous individuals to change their own personal land management practices. This workbook was developed to train farmers, educators, and students about the water, carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycles and about ecological processes that link agricultural management practices to water quality. We believe that improved understanding of how specific practices might contribute to water pollution will be a strong motivating factor for individuals to decide to change their personal practices (be they agricultural or household) to protect our water resources for everyone.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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