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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Water Resource Implications of Midwest Agroecosystems


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 23 No. 1, p. 4-8
    Received: Dec 18, 1992

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. Steven L. Oberle * and
  2. Michael R. Burkart
  1. U SDA-Extension Service, 214 National Soil Tilth Lab, Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA 50011;
    U SDA-ARS, 232 National Soil Tilth Lab, 2150 Pammel Dr., Ames, IA 50011.



Agriculture contributes to nonpoint-source pollution of the nation's water resources through leaching and runoff of crop nutrients, pesticides, and animal wastes, and through soil erosion from cropland. Development of effective solutions to water quality problems resulting from agricultural activities requires input of information synthesized from many disciplines, and coordination and integration of various scientific and technical programs. This article describes a program for synthesizing information resulting from USDA, USEPA, and USGS projects into evaluations of the regional impact of existing and innovative agroecosystems on surfacewater and groundwater quality. The program involves two facets with equal function and importance: assembling and analyzing information to characterize Midwest agroecosystems and to estimate water quality response; and developing effective systems for disseminating information and technology to end users. Four phases are presented as sequential, interdependent components of the program: (i) information acquisition and assessment; (ii) synthesis and systems development; (iii) education and technology transfer; and (iv) evaluation. Integration of information from water quality programs in the Midwest will provide a comprehensive and regional analysis, and can serve as the basis for disseminating information and technology necessary to implement agricultural management systems with maximum potential for protecting water resources. Regional analysis can also serve as input into the development of agricultural policy that is compatible with the nation's environmental and fiscal goals.

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