Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/12/2004
Publication Date: 7/24/2004
Citation: Russelle, M.P., Kelley, D.W., Gowda, P.H., Bruening, D., Iverson, S.P., Montgomery, B.R. 2004. Finding the "leaks" in source water protection areas [abstract]. 59th Annual Soil and Water Conservation Society Conference, July 24-28, 2004, St. Paul, MN. p. 28. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Numerous rural public water suppliers in the U.S. are faced with excessive nitrate in their source ground water. Ten to fifteen Minnesota suppliers are currently blending or treating water to comply with drinking water standards. In wellheads that are dominated by agriculture, an alternative, long-term approach is needed to reduce nitrate leaching. Maximum effect will be achieved by targeting those fields where the risk of nitrate leaching is greatest. We used local information on soils, historical weather, and crop management with simulation modeling and GIS techniques to produce maps of two wellhead protection zones in southwestern Minnesota. These maps identify fields that have the greatest likelihood of nitrate loss and show the predicted outcome of improved nitrogen fertilizer management or conversion of annual cropland to perennial vegetation, such as alfalfa or CRP. Both land managers and personnel responsible for the water supply can understand these maps, facilitating development of effective, site-specific strategies to protect source water.