Strategies to Reduce Agricultural Nonpoint Source Pollution in the Boise Watershed

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Student Presentation

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Faculty Sponsor

Scott Lowe


Nitrogen and phosphorous nonpoint source pollutants are a serious concern in the Boise River as they contribute to increased algae blooms, decreased fish populations and an overall degradation of river water quality. This research focuses on agricultural nonpoint pollution and the effectiveness of best management practice (BMP) strategies. The costs, benefits and overall effectiveness of three BMPs are examined, based on the most common crops grown in the Boise River area, and an exploration of why these BMPs are not being widely used on local cropland is presented. A nutrient trading system is one viable way to incentivize the use of BMPs, however such a system has been proposed for the Boise River in 1998 but it hasn’t been implemented. With a nutrient trading system in place, a comprehensive manual that includes costs, benefits, and BMP effectiveness will assist farmers in making decisions regarding their effluent trading, and will thus allow local farmers and the agencies governing the nutrient trading program to make a measurable difference in decreasing nonpoint pollution in the Boise River.

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