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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory » Research » Research Project #443451

Research Project: Assessing Legacy P Fate on the Delmarva

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-13610-030-054-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Feb 1, 2023
End Date: Jan 1, 2024

Elevated soil phosphorus (P) is common in the agricultural landscapes of the Delmarva Peninsula. Historic application of dairy and poultry manure beyond plant P needs has led to the over-enrichment of P in agricultural soils, and to persistent P losses to the Chesapeake Bay. Specific objectives of this agreement are to: 1) characterize the sources and transport of legacy P on the Delmarva Peninsula; 2) explain spatial distribution of legacy P in the landscape; 3) collect environmental data to support field-scale modeling using APLE model.

Legacy P locations are necessary to identify because they can serve as a source of P to Chesapeake Bay although there may no longer be P applications made. Moreover, specific management practices may be developed and deployed to combat legacy P, like use of blind inlets to better manage P in outflow from fields and the use of novel perennial plant species to accelerate draw down of P in soils. We will coordinate with the national Legacy P project to provide data from the Delmarva Peninsula to the national modeling effort. • Collect environmental samples (soil, plant, water samples) at partnering farms to ground-truth model outputs • Employ topographic models to explain the spatial distribution of P, using terrain attributes derived from elevation to map legacy P density across the cropland for delineation of likely critical source areas in the landscape • Develop management strategies based on modelling and sampling efforts