Principal Investigator: David Mulla
Organization(s): University of Minnesota, Department of Soil, Water, and Climate
Sponsor: Clean Water Legacy Act
Award Amount: $160,000
Start Date: 3/1/2007 | 6/30/2009
Project Manager(s): Adam Birr
FINAL REPORT: Evaluation of Best Management Practices in Impaired Watersheds using the SWAT Model (PDF: 4.9MB/ 121 pages)
The Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) is a watershed-scale model; it is primarily used to predict and evaluate the effect of long-term land cover and land management practices on the quantity and quality of water that is exported from a watershed. This model can estimate the amount of water that contributes to stream flow and the relative sediment, nutrient, and pesticide losses under different agricultural field conditions and management scenarios.
Output from this model can be used to identify critical portions of the landscape; areas that may disproportionately contribute sediment or nutrients to water ways. If management efforts to reduce runoff are targeted to high priority areas, for example land with a >2% slope, pollutant loads may be dramatically reduced. Identification of these critical areas is essential for the effective and efficient implementation of agricultural management practices.
What is a watershed?
A watershed is the land area where all the water that falls in it or that drains into it goes to the same place. A watershed is simply the land area that drains into a common lake, river, stream or ocean.
The research objectives for this project were:
This research project evaluated the delivery of sediments, nutrients and pesticides under different management scenarios. Management strategies included conservation tillage, no tillage, vegetative filter strips, buffer strips, cover crops, reduced fertilizer and pesticide rates, alternative timing of pesticide and fertilizer, and incorporation of pesticides.
Findings from this study can provide immediate input in the development of total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for watershed located in portions of southern and southeastern Minnesota.
More details about both the Le Sueur River and South Branch of the Root River watersheds can be found in the following document: Evaluation of BMPs in Impaired Watersheds using the SWAT Model (PDF: 4.9MB / 121 pages).
Supervisor, Clean Water Technical Unit