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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: PROTECTING SURFACE AND GROUND WATERS IN EMERGING FARMING SYSTEMS OF THE NORTH CENTRAL UNITED STATES Title: Nutrient Loss in Runoff from Turf: Effect on Surface Water Quality

Authors
item Rice, Pamela
item Horgan, Brian -

Submitted to: Trade Journal Publication
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 23, 2009
Publication Date: January 1, 2010
Citation: Rice, P.J., Horgan, B.P. 2010. Nutrient Loss in Runoff from Turf: Effect on Surface Water Quality. USGS Turfgrass and Environmental Research Online (TERO). 9(1):1-10. Available at http://usgatero.msu.edu/v09/n01.pdf.

Technical Abstract: Excess nutrients in surface waters may result in enhanced algal blooms and plant growth that can lead to eutrophication and a decline in water quality. The applicatin of fertilizer to golf courses may be a source of nutrients to surface waters. Runoff studies were conducted to measure applied nitrogen and phosphorus loss in runoff from creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) turf managed as a golf course fairway. Quantities measured in the edge-of-turf runoff were used to calculate surface water concentrations of a pond receiving runoff from turf. Runoff and surface water concentrations were compared with water quality standards to evaluate potential environmental effects of turf runoff. Key observations of the study were: less than 12% of the applied ammonium nitrogen, nitrate nitrogen or soluble phosphorus was measured in the runoff; phosphorus concentrations in runoff were greater than water quality criteria to limit eutrophication; nitrogen concentrations in runoff were greater than levels associated with increased algal growth while nitrate nitrogen concentrations were below the drinking water standard to prevent blue baby syndrome; phosphorus concentrations in a pond receiving runoff remained above levels associated with increased algal growth and eutrophication of lakes; and nitrogen concentrations in a pond receiving runoff were below levels associated with increased algal growth.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014