Location: Soil and Water Management Research
Project Number: 5062-12130-008-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated
Start Date: May 22, 2022
End Date: May 21, 2027
Objective 1: Quantify the transport and fate of nutrients, agrochemicals, and contaminants in managed landscapes and investigate controlling mechanisms. Sub-objective 1A: Determine the persistence and degradation of agricultural inputs and environmental contaminants and factors that control availability to biotic or abiotic (i.e., soil mineral interaction, soil temperature, moisture, and oxidation) processes. Sub-objective 1B: Measure and model the occurrence, export, and transport of agricultural inputs and environmental contaminants to and within surface water and ground water resources. Objective 2: Develop management approaches to reduce adverse impacts of agronomic practices on water quality and quantity. Sub-objective 2A: Examine conventional (BAU) and aspirational (ASP) management practices and investigate new technologies and approaches that will enhance food production while protecting water resources. Sub-objective 2B: Investigate the ecosystem services of turf.
The challenge we face with a growing world population is to increase agricultural production to meet demands while maintaining environmental quality. Critical to this challenge is protecting the integrity of water resources, which is the foundation of our project’s objectives that quantify the transport and fate of agricultural inputs and contaminants in managed landscapes (objective 1) and develop management approaches to reduce adverse impacts of agronomic practices on water quality and quantity (objective 2). Laboratory, plot level, and watershed-scale investigations will encompass one or more of three over-arching approaches that include: (1) measurements to identify occurrence of contaminants and their sources; (2) management to mitigate contaminants; and (3) modeling to evaluate broader impacts of contaminants and effectiveness of conservation practices or mitigation strategies. Research addressing the first objective will measure the persistence and degradation of agricultural inputs and environmental contaminants and factors that control their availability (subobjective 1a). This includes improving our understanding of biochar aging mechanisms that impact agrochemical sorption and degradation (goal 1a.1), and characterizing contaminants in urban agricultural systems and reducing contaminant availability with management practices (goal 1a.2). In addition, we will measure and model the occurrence, export, and transport of agricultural inputs and environmental contaminants to and within surface water and ground water resources (subobjective 1B). This includes mapping sources and sinks of contaminants in agricultural watersheds to evaluate the mitigation efficacy of management practices (goal 1b.1), and characterizing pesticide sorption to agricultural microplastics (goal 1b.2). Research addressing the second objective will examine conventional and aspirational management practices and investigate new technologies and approaches that will enhance food production while protecting water resources (subobjective 2a). This includes the evaluation of perennial and annual cover crop management practices to reduce negative impacts of row crop production on water quality (goal 2a.1), community-scale denitrifying bioreactor for mitigating nutrient and sediment losses from subsurface tile drained landscapes (goal 2a.2), and synergistic benefits of additives with optimized nitrogen management to reduce loss of soluble nitrogen from cropping systems to ground and surface waters (hypothesis 2a.3). We will also investigate the ecosystem services of turfgrass (subobjective 2b), one of the largest crops grown in the United States, to measure its effectiveness to mitigate transport of roadside contaminants to surface waters (goal 2b.1) and to evaluate the effect of soil moisture and grass species on N-cycling (goal 2b.2). Results of this research will formulate guidelines to enhance the sustainability of agriculture and protect water quality, thus improving water resource security and safeguarding the environment and human and animal health. Data from this project plan will also contribute to Long-Term Agroecosystem Research.