This National Water Quality Inventory: 2004 Report to Congress, prepared under section 305(b) of the Clean Water Act, summarizes water quality reports submitted electronically by 44 states, 2 territories, and the District of Columbia to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the 2004 reporting cycle. These state water quality assessment findings are contained in EPA’s Water Quality Assessment and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Information database and website, known as ATTAINS (Assessment TMDL Tracking And ImplementatioN System), for the 2004 reporting cycle. Read more..
"Here's why there is no systematic testing" by Leah Ward October 11, 2008
With hundreds of square miles of irrigated farmland, the Lower Yakima Valley yields a bounty of fruit, hops, corn, hay and other crops. Tourists come to taste the wine and enjoy orchard-dotted vistas that have been compared to the Napa Valley, even Tuscany. Less visible is what's happening to the water below the ground, which more than 30,000 mostly poor, Latino residents depend on for drinking water. Most of that water is tapped from untested wells, including many older wells, dug before permits were required and records kept. Read more..
"The CFFO Commentary: Dutch Farming and Public Opinion" by Nathan Stevens July 25, 2008
Recently, I had the privilege of journeying to Europe with the current class of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program. Our first stop was in the Netherlands. It was striking how the strength of the environmental and animal welfare movements have impacted the direction of agricultural research and investment. In many ways, the challenges and opportunities that Dutch farmers have faced over the last number of years are the emerging challenges and opportunities facing Ontario farmers today. Read more..
"Agricultural nonpoint source water pollution policy: The case of California's Central Coast" by Brian M. Dowda, Daniel Pressa, and Marc Los Huertos July 11, 2008
Nonpoint sources of pollution, primarily from agricultural sources, are a major cause of water quality impairment. Yet policies to address this issue remain underexplored in the literature. This article first reviews the agricultural nonpoint source (NPS) pollution policy literature and categorizes its major findings. The North American literature, in particular, rarely analyses NPS policies already in force, and pays even less attention to overcoming implementation barriers to reaching desired environmental outcomes. Second, this paper evaluates a newly adopted policy approach that addresses nonpoint sources of nutrient contaminants in the surface waters of one of the United States’ most agriculturally productive and environmentally pristine areas, California's Central Coast. The article then reveals the political, budgetary and technical barriers faced by farmers, regulators, and other stakeholders. The article concludes by arguing that more analyses of implemented policies designed to address agricultural NPS pollution will better inform both local-level and federal policymakers towards the successful creation and implementation of policies that achieve environmental outcomes. Read more..
"Modeling Erosion Damage from Ephemeral Gullies" by Ann Perry July 11, 2008
Ephemeral gullies are common features on agricultural landscapes. Concentrated water flows can erode cropland soils and carve out these small drainage ditches, which then transport field runoff laden with eroded sediments into nearby streams. In fact, these gullies may lead to soil losses that exceed soil losses from sheet or rill erosion. Read more..
"Bringing Back the Cows With Swath Grazing" by Don Comis July 02, 2008
Swath grazing is a way to revive the once widespread practice of letting cattle graze all winter in the Northern Plains. With swath grazing, farmers pile crop residue into rows, known as “swaths,” that stand as high as 16 inches. Cattle can usually push with ease through up to 2 feet of snow to graze on these crop residues or other high quality forages. Read more..
"Perspective Nutrient management on farms, or ‘You get out what you put in’" by Keith WT Goulding 2007
Sustainable agriculture requires, amongst many things, that the nutrients sold off the farm in grain, vegetables,milk,meat, etc. be replaced; ‘offtakes’must be balanced by inputs. But getting the balance right is difficult, and with the emphasis in farming being on productivity for so many years, the tendency has been to add an excess to ensure maximum yield. Some of the excess nutrients are stored in the soil but some, especially nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), are lost to the environment. Read more..
"Nonpoint Source Pollution" 2005
Every time it rains, water flows through 8,234 square miles of the Lake Champlain Basin, collecting pollutants from agricultural fields, driveways, lawns, highways, and other surfaces. Much of this runoff is untreated, usually unfiltered and often laden with bacteria, nutrients and toxic substances. Known as nonpoint source pollution, this runoff flows over the land, into tributaries and eventually Lake Champlain. Nonpoint source pollution can also enter the Lake or its tributaries through groundwater flow. Controlling pollution from nonpoint sources is challenging, since it is derived from many land uses and human activities throughout the Basin. Read more..