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Watershed Currents Vol. 1, Number 1
Watershed Currents - Vol. 1, Number 1 August 15, 1997
Table of Contents
- Farmer Incentives Program Works in Florida
- Chesapeake Bay Could Reduce Nitrogen by 40%
- Cleaner Minnesota River, Thanks to Agriculture
- Farmers as Producers of Clean Water
- Watershed Management is Gaining Momentum
- Trout Kill in Minnesota Stream Sparks Action
- Video of Appleton's Presentation Available
- Web Sites of Interest
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FARMER INCENTIVES PROGRAM WORKS IN FLORIDA
The Florida Legislature passed the Everglades Forever Act three years
ago with the intention of reducing the phosphorous entering the
Everglades. The plan provided financial incentives to farmers and
implemented new regulations. The innovative incentive program requires
farmers to remove 25% of the phosphorous from the runoff on their land
by 2003. As that goal is exceeded, farmers are rewarded through tax
relief. Farmers have already reduced runoff by 68%, more than twice
the 2003 goal. This program has resulted in 97% of the Everglades
Protection Area already meeting the goal of less than 50 parts per
billion of phosphorous, almost entirely due to reduced phosphorous
concentrations in agricultural runoff.
WALL STREET JOURNAL, May 15, 1997.
CHESAPEAKE BAY COULD REDUCE NITROGEN BY 40%
The reduction of farm nutrient runoff is a critical aspect of
the Chesapeake Bay Program's goal of a 40% reduction in nitrogen by the
year 2000. To achieve this goal, the Bay Program has concentrated
its efforts on the predominantly agricultural tributaries of the bay
through the creation of the Tributary Strategy and Citizen
Implementation Teams. These efforts have resulted in a 20-30 pounds per
acre reduction in nitrogen and phosphorous application in the last 10
Each major tributary is required to reduce nitrogen by 40%, and is given
point by point recommendations for achieving this goal. A 25-30 member
team, representing business, agriculture, academia, environmental
concerns, and the government, looks at the goals and determines if
they are realistic and equitable.
The watersheds along the upper eastern shore are dominated by row crop
agriculture and poultry farms, major contributors to the
nitrogen loading. Efforts have been made to improve farming practices,
so that crop yields are maintained while impacts are minimized. Many
experts believe that one of these practices, planting cover crops, is
the most effective method of reducing nitrogen runoff per dollar spent.
The success of these watersheds can be partly attributed to Maryland's
Nutrient Management Planning program, which trains private consultants
on methods of nutrient reduction. This is the largest volunteer
program of its kind in the country.
MARINE NOTES, May-June 1997
CLEANER MINNESOTA RIVER, THANKS TO AGRICULTURE
Minnesota's Governor Arne Carlson established a goal five years ago of
having the Minnesota River "fishable and swimmable" by 2002. At a
Minnesota River conference, Lt. Governor Joanne Benson stated that the
prospects of meeting this goal have been improved due to the Best
Management Practices implemented by farmers in the Minnesota
Erosion has been reduced largely due to the amount of cropland devoted
to conservation tillage practices. These practices have reduced the
amount of phosphorous entering the Minnesota River, which is the
nutrient of highest concern in the watershed. However, further point
source and non-point source reductions will have to be
implemented further up the river in order to meet the goals by 2002.
MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE, August 3, 1997
FARMERS AS PRODUCERS OF CLEAN WATER
Paul Johnson, chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, spoke
of conservation on farms as a commodity, a benefit for which society
is willing to pay. Speaking at the Leopold Center's Tenth Anniversary
Conference in Ames, Iowa on July 30, Johnson told the audience of the
challenges of rewarding farmers for the non-food commodities which
they produce, such as clean water and wildlife. Johnson stated that
by the year 2002, the Freedom to Farm legislation will cut farm income
by $4 billion will be leaving agriculture with the Freedom to
Farm legislation. 88% of all precipitation falls on private land, so
managing water requires working with private landowners. To assist
landowners with water and soil conservation, a redirection of land grant
research and technical assistance is required, said Johnson, and a
recognition of the role of people in a healthy land. "Aldo Leopold
wrote that every farm is a portrait of the farmer, but I would add that
every landscape is a portrait of the community."
SPEECH AT LEOPOLD CENTER CONFERENCE, IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY, July 30,1997
WATERSHED MANAGEMENT IS GAINING MOMENTUM
The successful application of the watershed approach in several
communities, along with regulatory and financial incentives from the
EPA, have sparked watershed-based activity in several states. Since
1989, 14 states have instituted watershed approaches, and nine are
creating frameworks that will link multiple agencies into unified
watershed groups. These groups generally undertake a five-year
assessment of a watershed. This new approach has been effective in
addressing non-point source pollution and habitat degradation, issues
where federal regulation has not been adequate. Success is due to the
involvement of the local authorities and the implementation of best
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, July 1997.
TROUT KILL IN MINNESOTA STREAM SPARKS ACTION
An estimated 7,800 brown trout may have been intentionally poisoned in
Hay Creek, and residents have pledged $2,350 for information leading
to the arrest and conviction of the responsible parties. Kevin Foley,
a local political activist, used the newly formed Citizens
Environmental Reward Fund to collect the pledges. Forty community
members offered pledges.
The trout were on a two-mile segment of the creek that the state had
recently spent $160,000 in order to restore the degraded fish habitat.
Pathologists have not yet determined the cause of death.
MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE, August 9, 1997
VIDEO OF APPLETON'S PRESENTATION AVAILABLE
Videotapes of the presentation given by Al Appleton, former Commissioner
of New York City's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), in
St. Paul, MN on August 1 will be available shortly. Appleton
discussed the landmark agreement between farmers in the Catskill
Watershed and New York City's Water Department. If you are interested
in this videotape, contact Mark Muller of the Institute for
Agriculture and Trade Policy at (612) 870-3420, e-mail:
WEB SITES OF INTEREST
IATP Watershed Program: A warehouse of watershed-organizing information
including events, organizations, resources, and related sites.
EPA's Surf Your Watershed: Helps users locate, use, and share
environmental information on their watershed. http://www.epa.gov/surf/
Know Your Watershed: The Conservation Technology Information Center's
watershed homepage. http://www/ctic.purdue.edu/cgi-bin/KYW.exe
"Watershed Management: Moving from Theory to Implementation," May 3-8,
1998, Denver, CO. Addresses watershed planning, protection,
restoration, and education. Follow-up to Watershed '96. Contact Nancy
Blatt at (800) 666-0206, firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Multi-Regional Meeting on Water Quality: Standards, Criteria, and
Permitting," Aug 25-27, Hyatt Regency, St. Louis, MO. This
EPA-sponsored event is to be an exchange of scientific, technical, and
policy information. For more information see the web page at
"Land Stewardship Project 15th Anniversary Celebration," Sep 13, Scott
County, MN. Includes discussion about the work of Clean Up our River
Environment (CURE). Contact Rebecca Kilde, (612) 653-0618.
"National Water Quality Watershed Project Symposium," Sep 22-26,
Washington DC. Contact the Conservation Technology Information Center
at (765)-494-9555, email@example.com.
"Managing Manure in Harmony with the Environment and the Society,"
Feb 10-12, 1998. WNC Manure Management Conference, Ames, Iowa.
Contact is Bob Ball, USDA-NRCS, Parkside Center, Suite 250, Columbia, MO
65203; (573) 876-0900, fax: (573) 876-0913, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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