Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/30/2004
Publication Date: 7/24/2004
Citation: Montgomery, B.R., Williams, B., Olsen, B., Russelle, M.P. 2004. Integrated solutions for protecting public water supplies in agricultural communities [abstract]. 59th Annual Soil and Water Conservation Society Conference, July 24-28, 2004, St. Paul, MN. p. 18. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Many rural communities are facing the challenge of elevated nitrate concentrations in their public water supplies. In Minnesota, there are 10 to 15 communities that have significant nitrate problems and as a response strategy, suppliers will frequently install deeper wells, drill additional wells for blending purposes, install nitrate removal systems, or take other actions to avoid exceeding the 10 mg/L NO3-N Health Standard. While local communities are effective at developing short-term solutions, considerable planning, implementation, and science-based decisions need to be conducted to ensure high-quality water for future generations. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture, with support from many different cooperators, has actively assisted a number of agricultural communities by working with area farmers and agribusinesses. This presentation will feature the alliances and examples of "win-win" solutions developed with three different suppliers (communities of Perham and St. Peter and the Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water System in southwestern Minnesota) found in very different agroecoregions. Solutions are unique to each location but commonly include a blend of the following strategies: federal cost sharing on nutrient management planning and set aside acres through CRP; introducing modified cropping rotations in vulnerable locations; promotion of BMPs and university fertilizer recommendations; innovative nutrient insurance policies; and alternative land use decisions.