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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A Tool for Assessing Bmp Effectiveness for Phosphorus Pollution Control

Authors
item Gitau, M - PENN. STATE UNIV.
item Gburek, William
item Jarrett, A - PENN. STATE UNIV.

Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 20, 2004
Publication Date: February 20, 2005
Citation: Gitau, M.W., Gburek, W.J., Jarrett, A.R. 2005. A tool for assessing bmp effectiveness for phosphorus pollution control. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 60(1):1-9.

Interpretive Summary: A Best Management Practice (BMP) assessment tool has been developed as a part of an effort to address the phosphorus (P) pollution and associated eutrophication problem affecting the Cannonsville reservoir, part of the New York City water supply system. Presently, BMPs for controlling P loss from agriculture have been implemented on a farm-by-farm basis within the Cannonsville reservoir watershed, with the plan being to extend BMP implementation to the entire 1969 sq-mi New York City Water supply watersheds. The effectiveness of these practices have, however, not been quantified. A literature-based quantification of BMP effectiveness was developed for those BMPs currently in use, considering site characteristics, study methods used, scale, and resulting levels of P reduction. The information was stored in an MS Access database, which served as the foundation for development of the assessment tool. The tool allows site-specific estimation of BMP effectiveness. It outputs estimates for a number of possible BMPs for a particular site, thus providing a basis for BMP selection. It also offers access to summarized information on various aspects of BMP effectiveness. The tool can be used as a stand-alone application, or it may be linked to a GIS-based model. The tool will serve as a resource for BMP selection by providing estimates of BMP effectiveness under a variety of site-specific conditions. Finally, we have shown that an accumulation and analyses of BMP effectiveness data from previous studies offers a means of BMP assessment that is widely applicable.

Technical Abstract: A Best Management Practice (BMP) assessment tool was developed as a part of an effort to address the phosphorus (P) pollution and associated eutrophication problem affecting the Cannonsville Reservoir, part of the New York City water supply system. P reaching the reservoir is thought to emanate from runoff from the surrounding farms, mainly as a result of manure spread on these farms. Efforts to address the problem have involved implementation of BMPs on a farm-by-farm basis; however, the effectiveness of these practices is not known. This study establishes a means of assessing BMPs quantitatively and develops a tool that allows users to obtain BMP effectiveness estimates for their respective site conditions. The tool offers both stand-alone and model-linked capabilities for BMP assessment. An example application is presented.

Last Modified: 9/20/2014
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