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ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Research Project #435072

Research Project: Nitrogen Management at the Watershed Scale: The Role of Cranberry Agriculture

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Project Number: 8070-13000-015-003-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2018
End Date: Jul 31, 2023

The Cooperator will use well established monitoring and modeling techniques to determine the sources of nitrogen (N) export from three watersheds: the Weweantic River, Wareham River, and Bartlett Pond. The Weweantic and Wareham River watersheds have the highest number and density of cranberry bogs in southeastern Massachusetts. Although consisting of relatively fewer cranberry bogs, the Bartlett Pond watershed includes one of the largest wetland restoration sites in Massachusetts, Tidmarsh Farms, a large cranberry bog that was recently restored to a wetland. The three watersheds consist of diverse land uses, but, in each watershed, cranberry agriculture has been identified as a significant source of N to coastal receiving waters. Understanding the contribution of cranberry bogs to watershed N losses is central to the development of comprehensive watershed N management plans.

The Cooperator will use established field methods to quantify N export from the three watersheds. Stage-discharge rating curves will be developed for individual sites using bi-weekly measurements of streamflow and continuous measurements of stage. Weekly water samples will be collected by hand and analyzed for nitrate, ammonium, total dissolved N, and total N. N concentrations will be analyzed by colorimetry at the University of Massachusetts Cranberry Station, and the model N loading will be used to estimate the contribution of different land uses to N losses from the watersheds.