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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Environmentally Integrated Dairy Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #329560

Research Project: Improvement of Dairy Forage and Manure Management to Reduce Environmental Risk

Location: Environmentally Integrated Dairy Management Research

Title: Revised method and outcomes for estimating soil phosphorus losses from agricultural land in the Chesapeake Bay watershed model

Author
item Mulkey, Alisha - University Of Maryland
item Coale, Frank - University Of Maryland
item Vadas, Peter
item Shenk, Gary - Chesapeake Bay Foundation
item Bhatt, Gopal - Pennsylvania State University

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/13/2016
Publication Date: 10/6/2016
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/5700678
Citation: Mulkey, A., Coale, F., Vadas, P.A., Shenk, G., Bhatt, G. 2016. Revised method and outcomes for estimating soil phosphorus losses from agricultural land in the Chesapeake Bay watershed model. Journal of Environmental Quality. doi:10.2134/jeq2016.05.0201.

Interpretive Summary: Current restoration efforts for the Chesapeake Bay are trying to reduce phosphorus (P) loads coming into the Bay. The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model (WSM) has been used for two decades to simulate P transport and loss from agricultural fields, but the model estimates P loss based on averages in the literature, not on specific field uses, manure management decisions, erosion, and runoff. An independent, field-scale modeling tool (APLE) was used as an alternative to the current WSM approach. APLE estimated more total P loss and a different spatial distribution compared to the WSM’s targets. When APLE’s revised estimates for P loss were substituted into the WSM and compared with actual river water samples, model performance improved for 74% of tributary monitoring stations. Incorporating APLE into the WSM will improve its ability to assess P loss and the impact of field management on Chesapeake Bay water quality.

Technical Abstract: Current restoration efforts for the Chesapeake Bay watershed mandate a timeline for reducing the load of nutrients and sediment to receiving waters. The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model (WSM) has been used for two decades to simulate hydrology and nutrient and sediment transport; however, spatial limitations of the WSM preclude edge-of-field (EOF) scale representation of P losses. Rather, the WSM relies on literature-derived county-scale target rates of P loss. An independent, field-scale modeling tool (APLE) was used as an alternative to the current WSM approach. Identical assumptions of county-level acreage, soil properties, nutrient management practices, and transport factors from the WSM were used as inputs to APLE. Incorporation of APLE P loss estimates resulted in greater estimated total P loss and a revised spatial pattern of P loss compared to the WSM’s original targets. Subsequently, APLE’s revised estimates for P loss were substituted into the WSM and resulted in improved WSM calibration performance at 74% of tributary monitoring stations. The incorporation of APLE into the WSM will improve its ability to assess P loss and the impact of field management on Chesapeake Bay water quality.