Modeling the Effect of Agricultural Best Management Practices on Water Quality under Various Climatic Scenarios

By Parker, G. T.; Droste, R. L. et al. | Journal of Environmental Engineering and Science, January 2008 | Go to article overview

Modeling the Effect of Agricultural Best Management Practices on Water Quality under Various Climatic Scenarios


Parker, G. T., Droste, R. L., Kennedy, K. J., Journal of Environmental Engineering and Science


Abstract: The South Nation (SN) watershed in Eastern Ontario was studied for improvements in surface water quality due to best management practices (BMPs). Contributions of non-point sources (NPS) to nutrient loadings are both significant and poorly defined in the region. The study used the dynamic Annualized Agricultural NPS (AnnAGNPS) model to run continuous annual simulations, coupled with a dynamic water-quality model for simulation of riverine water chemistry. The simulation case matrix focused on the potential of BMPs within the context of climate change. Results of the work were then analyzed to determine ecological intensity (severity), duration, and frequency (IDF) of violations to species survivability within the stream network. Best management practices were found to reduce water quality impacts but stream standards were not reached. Adjustment of fertilizer application rates (FAR) and vegetative filter strips (VFS) outperformed alternative BMPs in the model. Results suggest that agricultural activity within the watershed must be diminished to reach standards.

Key words: watershed, water quality model, non-point source, AnnAGNPS, best management practices.

Resume : Le bassin hydrologique South Nation (SN) de l'est de l'Ontario a ete examine dans le but d'ameliorer la qualite des eaux de surface par l'application des meilleures pratiques de gestion. Les contributions des sources non ponctuelles aux charges en nutriments sont a la fois importantes et mal definies dans la region. L'etude utilise le modele AnnAGNPS (<< Annualized Agricultural Non-Point Sources>>) pour realiser des simulations annuelles en continu, jumele a un modele dynamique sur la qualite de l'eau pour simuler la chimie de l'eau fluviale. La matrice de simulation portait sur le potentiel des meilleures pratiques de gestion dans un contexte de changements climatiques. Les resultats des travaux ont ensuite ete analyses afin de determiner l'intensite ecologique (gravite), la duree et la frequence des infractions a la capacite de survie des especes dans le reseau hydrographique. Les meilleures pratiques de gestion ont reduit les impacts sur la qualite de l'eau, mais les normes concernant les rivieres n'ont pas ete atteintes. L'ajustement des taux d'epandage d'engrais et les bandes riveraines vegetatives ont surclasse les autres meilleures pratiques de gestion dans le modele. Les resultats signalent la necessite de reduire l'activite agricole a l'interieur du bassin hydrologique afin d'atteindre les normes.

Mots-cles : bassin hydrologique, modele de la qualite de l'eau, source non ponctuelle, AnnAGNPS, meilleures pratiques de gestion.

[Traduit par la Redaction]

Introduction

This paper summarizes the development and application of a non-point source (NPS) pollutant model to simulate the application of varied nutrient management practices in the South Nation (SN) River near Ottawa, ON. Simulations of several best management practices (BMPs) were conducted using a modern numerical hydrology--pollutant code coupled to a riverine water quality model, and the results were analyzed in the context of standards and biological impact. The model was constructed with an emphasis on the adequate characterization of relevative BMP effectiveness in the overall watershed.

Background

Previous studies indicate that contribution of nutrient loads by NPS is both significant and poorly defined in the SN region (Wilson 2000). A watershed wastewater assimilation study that gauged nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) contributions from all point sources estimated that N and P loads contributed by NPS are on the order of 95% of their total load on an annual basis (Gore and Storie 1992). A recent multi-million dollar study of water resources within Eastern Ontario (the Eastern Ontario Water Resources Management Study (EOWRMS)) illustrated the need for better models and decision support tools for watersheds of this nature (CH2M Hill 2001). …

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