Water Quality: A Report of Progress
Published Sep 1997
Hydrologic Unit Area (HUA) Projects -
In 1990, HUA projects were initiated in 37 locations, followed by an
additional 37 projects in 1991. These projects were planned to hasten
the farmer adoption of existing BMP'S. The intent was to speed up
application of accepted BMP's (as opposed to the new, relatively
untested ones in the Demonstration Projects).
Space does not permit a complete listing of impacts; selected ones follow.
The Lake Apopka HUA (Florida) has helped farmers to reduce phosphorus fertilizer applications by some 390 tons; this saved the farmers over $500,000 in fertilizer costs, and reduced input costs by $19 per acre.
Wyoming's Ocean Lake HUA was able to mediate a conflict between the Midvale Irrigation District and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The subsequent compromise agreement provided for needed repairs to Bull Lake Dam, and avoided the costs (and acrimony) associated with litigation, saving the Irrigation District between $60,000 and $100,000, and implementing needed repairs before failure occurred.
Georgia's Little River - Rooty Creek HUA reduced the use of fertilizer nitrogen by 150 tons, as a result of practices to better manage livestock manures. The project is credited with much of the 55 percent reduction in the phosphorus levels in Lake Sinclair.
In Connecficut's Scantic River HUA, pesticide use was reduced by 74 percent (active ingredient)--more than 4 tons. Pre-side dress nitrogen testing resulted in recommendations for an average nitrogen reduction of 55 lbs per acre on nearly 900 acres, or some 25 tons.
Louisiana's Bayou Queue de Torte HUA has assisted with water management improvements on 80 percent of the rice land in the project area--some 80,000 acres. The most popular BMP is the use of settling ponds that provide 15 days' retention of water from rice fields. This detention reduces sediment loads by up to 60 percent, and increases the dissolved oxygen in the water by 2 to 4 ppm.
In Indiana, the Upper Kankakie River HUA estimates that nitrogen applications were reduced by 100 tons on 10,000 acres in 1996; and that phosphorus applications were reduced by some 160 tons.
Wisconsin's Steven's Point-Plover HUA assisted 32 participating farmers by saving (not applying) 36 tons of nitrogen, 42 tons of phosphorus, and 94 tons of potash.
The Upper North Bosque HUA (in Texas) assisted 40 dairies with manure management, reducing loads to streams, and saving input costs estimated at $107 million over the period 1991-1994. Eleven dairies have adopted water conservation strategies that reduce groundwater use by 154 acre-feet per year.
The Indian Lake, Ohio, HUA has assisted in the adoption of conservation tillage on 82 percent of the watershed's cropland; has installed 255 acres of riparian filterstrips, and has reduced sediment delivery to the lake by nearly 80 percent--over 60,000 tons per year.
Arkansas' "Muddy Fork of the Illinois River" HUA has treated over 70 percent of the cropland in the project area, and reports decreases of fertilizer use (nitrogen, 168 lbs per acre, and phosphorus, 23 lbs per acre; with cumulative reductions of 26,500 tons of nitrogen, and 350 tons of phosphorus.
Nebraska's Elm Creek HUA project reports annual reductions in chemical fertilizer use of 28 tons of rdtrogen and 13 tons of phosphorus; and reductions of 200 acre-feet per year of irrigation water. The combined annual savings are estimated at $36,000 per year.
In Arizona, the Casa Grande-Coolidge HUA reports savings of 22,000 acre-feet of irrigation water through improved management practices; and the West Maricopa HUA reports a savings of 5,000 acre-feet.
California's West Stanislaus HUA reports that, after 5 years of project activities, half a million tons of sediment has no offsite impacts; and over 30 thousand acre-feet of irrigation water has been saved.