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Phosphorus and Water Budgets in an Agricultural Basin

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journal contribution
posted on 05.08.2014, 00:00 by Sayena Faridmarandi, Ghinwa M. Naja
Water and phosphorus (P) budgets of a large agricultural basin located in South Florida (Everglades Agricultural Area, EAA) were computed from 2005 to 2012. The annual surface outflow P loading from the EAA averaged 157.2 mtons originating from Lake Okeechobee (16.4 mtons, 10.4%), farms (131.0 mtons, 83.4%), and surrounding basins (9.8 mtons, 6.2%) after attenuation. Farms, urban areas, and the adjacent C-139 basin contributed 186.1, 15.6, and 3.8 mtons/yr P to the canals, respectively. The average annual soil P retention was estimated at 412.5 mtons. Water and P budgets showed seasonal variations with high correlation between rainfall and P load in drainage and surface outflows. Moreover, results indicated that the canals acted as a P sink storing 64.8 mtons/yr. To assess the P loading impact of farm drainage on the canals and on the outflow, dimensionless impact factors were developed. Sixty-two farms were identified with a high and a medium impact factor I1 level contributing 44.5% of the total drainage P load to the canals, while their collective area represented less than 23% of the EAA area (172 farms). Optimizing the best management practice (BMP) strategies on these farms could minimize the environmental impacts on the downstream sensitive wetlands areas.

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