Legacy P and sediment across Upper Midwest

Degraded surface water quality, including harmful algal blooms and associated “dead zones”, is a frequent outcome in regions with intensive agricultural land use. The movement of nutrient-rich water and sediments from the land to nearby streams and rivers is facilitated by processes such as erosion and artificial drainage. Once these materials enter streams, they can be transported out of the watershed or stored in the channel for short or long time periods; the amount of time nutrients and sediment spend in the stream channel depends on the rate of streamflow and the chemical form of the nutrient (i.e., whether it is dissolved in the flowing water or attached to a particle on the streambed). 

Our goals are to use existing and new water quality data from multiple agricultural watersheds to develop models to predict the timescales of sediment and nutrient delivery to, storage in, and export from streams and rivers.