Nutrient Beneficial Management Practices for Agriculture

About 70% of the Sylvan Lake watershed land is used for agriculture. So water that runs off the land can carry with it dissolved and suspended agricultural residues into the lake. SLWSS and other studies of the composition of streams that discharge into Sylvan Lake confirm that nutrient levels, nitrogen and phosphorus in particular, are always above the concentrations measured in the lake itself. Fortunately, natural nutrient cycles in the lake have maintained N and P at meso-eutrophic levels. That means troublesome algal blooms caused by elevated nutrient concentrations have been rare and Sylvan Lake water quality has been stable.

Help for nutrient control has arrived. Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has done its part to provide expert advice to farmers and ranchers by publishing results and recommendations from several years of research on nutrient management. Here is the text from the department’s recent important announcement:

The final report for the Nutrient Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) Evaluation Project is now available. The BMP Project was a six-year (2006 to 2012) field study with a major modelling component, and it required about two years to prepare the report. The purpose of the project was to evaluate the environmental effectiveness and economic implications of BMPs at field and watershed scale. The majority of the field work for the project was carried out in two agricultural watersheds. The BMP Project was led by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, with a major funding commitment from the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund.

The final report was published in three volumes: Volume 1––Summary and Recommendations; Volume 2––Field Study, and Volume 3––Modelling Study.

The reports can be accessed from our web site at,

http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/epw11955

Watch the SLWSS News for more information on how to ensure that Nutrient Beneficial Management Practices are applied in the watershed.

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