Engaging Stakeholders to Define Feasible and Desirable Agricultural Conservation in Western Lake Erie Watersheds

Margaret Mc Cahon Kalcic, Christine Kirchhoff, Nathan Bosch, Rebecca Logsdon Muenich, Michael Murray, Jacob Griffith Gardner, Donald Scavia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Widespread adoption of agricultural conservation measures in Lake Erie's Maumee River watershed may be required to reduce phosphorus loading that drives harmful algal blooms and hypoxia. We engaged agricultural and conservation stakeholders through a survey and workshops to determine which conservation practices to evaluate. We investigated feasible and desirable conservation practices using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool calibrated for streamflow, sediment, and nutrient loading near the Maumee River outlet. We found subsurface placement of phosphorus applications to be the individual practice most influential on March-July dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) loading from row croplands. Perennial cover crops and vegetated filter strips were most effective for reducing seasonal total phosphorus (TP) loading. We found that practices effective for reducing TP and DRP load were not always mutually beneficial, culminating in trade-offs among multiple Lake Erie phosphorus management goals. Adoption of practices at levels considered feasible to stakeholders led to nearly reaching TP targets for western Lake Erie on average years; however, adoption of practices at a rate that goes beyond what is currently considered feasible will likely be required to reach the DRP target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8135-8145
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume50
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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    Kalcic, M. M. C., Kirchhoff, C., Bosch, N., Muenich, R. L., Murray, M., Griffith Gardner, J., & Scavia, D. (2016). Engaging Stakeholders to Define Feasible and Desirable Agricultural Conservation in Western Lake Erie Watersheds. Environmental Science and Technology, 50(15), 8135-8145. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b01420