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Research: The impact of extreme precipitation on nutrient runoff

January 2, 2024  by Marin Skidmore, Tihitina Andarge, Jeremy Foltz

Agriculture remains a leading source of water pollution in the United States, and climate change may exacerbate this relationship. We quantify increases in nutrient runoff following extreme precipitation events, showing that spikes are higher in regions with crop and livestock production. The spike per head is smaller around large-scale livestock production, relative to small-scale, and cover crops mitigate runoff. Legacy nutrients enter the surface water following extreme precipitation, regardless of current activity. We shed light on practices to protect water quality with more frequent extreme precipitation events and demonstrate the importance of including these events in empirical models of water quality. | READ MORE


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