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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - DIVISION S-6—SOIL & WATER MANAGEMENT & CONSERVATION

Grass Barrier and Vegetative Filter Strip Effectiveness in Reducing Runoff, Sediment, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus Loss


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 68 No. 5, p. 1670-1678
    Received: Sept 5, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): blanco.16@osu.edu
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  1. Humberto Blanco-Canqui *a,
  2. C. J. Gantzerb,
  3. S. H. Andersonb,
  4. E. E. Albertsc and
  5. A. L. Thompsond
  1. a School of Natural Resources, The Ohio State University, 2021 Coffey Rd., Columbus, OH 43210-1085
    b Environmental Soil Science, Univ. of Missouri-Columbia, 302 Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building, Columbia, MO 65211
    c USDA-ARS, 268 Agricultural Engineering Building, Columbia, MO 65211
    d 251 Agricultural Engineering Building, Columbia, MO 65211


Addition of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) barriers to vegetative filter strips (FS) shows potential as conservation practice. This study evaluates the comparative effectiveness of three conservation practices in reducing runoff, sediment, N, and P losses from 1.5- by 16-m plots on an Aeric Epiaqualf. Three practices compared are a traditional fescue (Festuca arundinacea) filter strip (Fescue-FS), a switchgrass barrier in combination with the Fescue-FS (B-Fescue-FS) and a switchgrass barrier in combination with a native grass and forbs species filter strip (B-Native-FS). This study also predicts transport of sediment, N, and P in Fescue-FS and B-Fescue-FS. Fescue-FS and B-Fescue-FS of equal widths (0.7 m) significantly reduced runoff and sediment transport as compared with a continuous cultivated fallow (CCF) treatment, but B-Fescue-FS was more effective for reducing runoff (p < 0.05) and sediment (p < 0.01) transport. B-Fescue-FS was also more effective than Fescue-FS for reducing losses of organic N, NO3–N, NH4–N, particulate P, and PO4–P (p < 0.01). Fescue-FS and B-Native-FS were equally effective for reducing runoff, sediment, and nutrient loss. Effectiveness of FS increased with distance with 18% of runoff, 92% of sediment, and 71% of nutrient leaving the source area being reduced in the first 4 m of the FS. An equation to predict sediment associated with runoff ponding above barriers explained approximately 70% of the variability between measured and predicted values of sediment, organic N, and particulate P transport. Combination of switchgrass barriers with FS is an effective alternative to Fescue-FS alone for reducing sediment and nutrients in runoff.

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