Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 24, 2007
Publication Date: July 26, 2007
Citation: Bryant, R.B., Veith, T.L., Kleinman, P.J., Gburek, W. 2007. Cannonsville Reservoir and Town Brook Watersheds: Documenting Conservation Efforts to Protect New York City’s Drinking Water[abstract]. Soil and Water Conservation Society. p38. Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.
Technical Abstract: The Cannonsville Reservoir, a Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) benchmark watershed, is a major component of the unfiltered New York City water supply system. This year, the voluntary, incentive-based Watershed Agricultural Program marks a 15-year history of collaboration among producers, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Delaware County (NY) Soil and Water Conservation District, and Cornell Cooperative Extension to address the problem of phosphorus (P) loading effects on water quality through implementation of whole farm plans for watershed farms. Collaborative Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES)-funded, CEAP-related research is documenting the effectiveness of conservation practices. An NRCS-developed system for simultaneous seeding of cover crops with silage corn reduced total P loads in runoff by 72%. In-stream deposits by pastured cattle equates to approximately 10% of watershed-level P loadings attributed to agriculture, and efforts to exclude pastured cattle from streams as part of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program are estimated to have already reduced in-stream deposition of fecal phosphorus by 32%. The Integrated Farm System Model, modified to include a process-level soil P model, was used to assess precision feed management, which more precisely balances dairy cattle diets and improves production and utilization of homegrown forage. More accurate feeding of P, integrated with increased productivity of grass-forage and the proportion of forage in the diet, resulted in a farm P balance reduction of 75% and a soluble P loss reduction of 17%. Predicted soluble P loss reduction at the watershed outlet was 10%.