Watershed's Farms Have Reduced Polluted Runoff, But Not Enough

Publication: Chesapeake Bay Journal

Author: Karl Blankenship

04/01/2011 - While farmers have reduced nutrient and sediment losses from croplands in the Bay watershed, about 80 percent of those lands continue to have a "high" or "moderate" need for further actions to protect water quality, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The report provides a complex look at crop farming in the watershed. On one hand, it suggests that actions taken by farmers have significantly reduced sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. On the other, it shows that significant hurdles remain. For instance, acres that receive manure for fertilizer have more than twice the nutrient loss than those that receive chemical fertilizer.

And while the study found farmers were taking more conservation actions than previously estimated, it also found that some of those actions - when taken in isolation - have the potential to exacerbate some water quality problems.

Read the full article Watershed's Farms Have Reduced Polluted Runoff, But Not Enough on the Chesapeake Bay Journal's Web site.

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