Measuring and Modeling Watershed Phosphorus Loss and Transport for Improved Management of Agricultural Landscapes

Transport of phosphorus (P) from agricultural fields to streams and lakes is the most widespread stressor of aquatic ecosystems in the Midwest because it leads to eutrophication and water quality degradation. Control of soil erosion has led to a reduction of losses of particulate (sediment bound) phosphorus in agricultural watersheds. However, losses of dissolved P have not been addressed by management, and now represent the dominant form of P loss from Minnesota’s agricultural landscapes. The source and controls of soluble P are not presently known, hindering efforts to controls P losses from the landscape. This project combines analyses of existing data for river phosphorus form and transport, new field measurements, and modeling to understand the sources, magnitude and controls over dissolved and particulate losses of phosphorus in Minnesota's agricultural landscapes.

Project Staff: 

Jacques Finlay, Brent Dalzell, Amy Hansen, Anna Baker, and Evelyn Boardman