Water Quality Best Management Practices in U.S. Midwestern Agricultural Landscapes: What Can be Learned from the Experience of the Forest Sector
Declining water quality is a pressing environmental challenge and a landscape scale issue, affecting public and private landowners and many aspects of society. The need to protect water resources has prompted both government and individual involvement in finding solutions. Agricultural crop and animal production significantly impact water quality. Land cultivation activities can contribute to increased risks of soil erosion, and the application of fertilizers and pesticides contribute to contaminated water runoff. Land management practices, planting locations and methods, crop selection, soil types and many other factors affect the processes of erosion and runoff. The use of Best Management Practices (BMPs) and other strategies have been shown to mitigate water quality impacts from land use activities and can help to ensure healthy water systems. While there are many ways to address the risks of runoff and erosion, this report focuses on BMPs that can be implemented as part of land use practices within agricultural watersheds.
This report includes information and lessons learned from the forest sector, where BMPs for water quality protection are widely used on private and public lands and have been effective in reducing and mitigating impacts associated with forest management activities.
Special thanks to research intern Will Feeney