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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Challenge of Predicting Nonpoint Source Pollution

Authors
item Loague, Keith - STANFORD UNIV. CA 94305
item Corwin, Dennis
item Ellsworth, T - UNIV. OF ILLINOIS, URBANA

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Science and Technology
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: June 20, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: There are increasingly important challenges associated with assessing the potential nonpoint source (NPS) pollution hazards that result from regional-scale agricultural activities. The increasing availability of geographic information system (GIS) software to those involved in assisting with land-use decisions has resulted in the proliferation of multicolored management maps for many environmentally sensitive issues. Much of the information needed to excite NPS pollution models can be contained within a well-designed GIS. It appears, therefore, that there is fantastic potential for a successful marriage between NPS pollution models and GIS. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of an emerging environmental focus and to draw attention to the upcoming Joint AGU Chapman/SSSA Outreach Conference entitled "Application of GIS, Remote Sensing, Geostatistics, and Solute Transport Modeling to the Assessment of Nonpoint Source Pollutants in the Vadose Zone"; see the AGU Web site (http://www.agu.org) for details.

Technical Abstract: Agriculture is the leading cause of nonpoint source (NPS) pollution in the world. Sustainable agriculture depends upon a delicate balance between economic stability achieved through increased agricutural productivity to meet world food demands, and minimizing both the utilization of finite natural resources and detrimental effects of NPS pollutant impacts on the environment. The ability to predict the spatial accumulation and distribution of NPS pollutants in soil on local, regional and global scales is a task well-suited for the coupling of GIS and solute transport models of the vadose zone (i.e., area between the soil surface and groundwater). An overview of current applications of GIS to NPS pollution problems in agriculture is presented with a focused placed on how GIS can be used to reduce emissions from agricutural activities and its application in a regulatory framework. A regional integrated assessment approach is proposed, which is based on cost-benefit analysis, and incorporates both physical and economic factors that can be used in a regulatory decision process.

Last Modified: 9/20/2014
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