A system of agricultural best management practices (BMPs) was implemented on a 2,100 ha watershed in Duplin County, North Carolina, USA, for the purpose of improving water quality. The BMPs included: Nutrient, pest, and animal waste management; and soil conservation practices. Both surface and ground water were continually analyzed to assess the water quality impacts. Nutrient management plans have been developed for over 80% of the cropland. Pest management plans have been developed for over 60% of the cropland. Over one-half of all plans have been implemented. Poultry mortality composting and improved swine waste management have decreased the potential adverse effects of animal operations. A constructed wetland shows promise as a pre-treatment of swine waste prior to]and application. Stream monitoring shows decreasing amounts of nitrate- and ammonium-nitrogen in the surface waters of the watershed. Ground water monitoring shows relatively high concentrations of nitrate in areas of intensive swine and poultry operations. Ground water monitoring of pesticides reveals low levels of alachlor, atrazine, and metolachlor even though large amounts of these chemicals are used on crops. The successful implementation of agricultural BMPs appears to be having a positive effect on water quality. Both stream and ground water monitoring will be continued for several years to assess more definitively the changes in water quality.
Cook, M. G., Hunt, P. G., Stone, K. C., & Canterberry, J. H. (1996). Reducing diffuse pollution through implementation of agricultural best management practices: A case study. In Water Science and Technology (Vol. 33, pp. 191–196). IWA Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1016/0273-1223(96)00230-2