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Home > Protecting Our Lands & Waters > Clean Water Fund > Clean Water Research Program > Modeling Watershed P

Measuring and modeling watershed phosphorus loss and transport for improved management of agricultural landscapes

Principal Investigator: Jacques Finlay
Organization: University of Minnesota, Ecology, Evolution and Behavior 
Sponsor: Clean Water Fund
Award Amount: $249,419
Start Date: 6/15/2015 | End Date: 6/30/2018
Project Manager: Luke Stuewe (Luke.Stuewe@state.mn.us)

Project Summary

The over-arching objective of this project is to evaluate sources and environmental controls of phosphorus (P) mobilization from the landscape, focusing on soluble P, and to use this information in computer models to inform strategies for basin-wide P reduction. Reductions could be realized by implementation of BMPs and conservation practices targeting either direct dissolved P or particulate P effluent from agricultural fields, or indirect P loads due to remobilization of stored P through changes in discharge, sediment supply or P form (dissolved vs. particulate). 

Three specific objectives include:

  1. Determine the relative contribution and environmental controls over P losses from agricultural watersheds in Minnesota including a new assessment of the potential importance of dissolved P;
  2. Measure sources and reactivity of dissolved P within channel networks of the Le Sueur River watersheds; and
  3. Integrate best available data to link alternative management actions, climate and landscape features in models of P losses at the watershed scale.

There are three primary deliverables for this project. These include a high resolution water chemistry database with two years of sample collection capturing spatial and temporal variability within the Le Sueur Basin.  The second includes a watershed scale SWAT model (Soil and Water Assessment Tool) of the Le Sueur River watershed which will include treatments for multiple P pools, including particulate and reactive P. The third deliverable would include technical reporting, as well as peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.

MDA Contact

Luke Stuewe
Agricultural Advisor