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Nutrient Mitigation Efficiency in Agricultural Drainage Ditches: An Influence of Landscape Management

Iseyemi, Oluwayinka O., Farris, Jerry L., Moore, Matthew T., Choi, Seo-eun
Bulletin of environmental contamination and toxicology 2016 v.96 no.6 pp. 750-756
agricultural land, agricultural management, drainage channels, environmental management, landscape management, mowing, nitrate nitrogen, nutrients, phosphates, pollution load, runoff, summer, surface water
Drainage systems are integral parts of agricultural landscapes and have the ability to intercept nutrient loading from runoff to surface water. This study investigated nutrient removal efficiency within replicated experimental agricultural drainage ditches during a simulated summer runoff event. Study objectives were to examine the influence of routine mowing of vegetated ditches on nutrient mitigation and to assess spatial transformation of nutrients along ditch length. Both mowed and unmowed ditch treatments decreased NO₃ ⁻-N by 79 % and 94 % and PO₄ ³⁻ by 95 % and 98 %, respectively, with no significant difference in reduction capacities between the two treatments. This suggests occasional ditch mowing as a management practice would not undermine nutrient mitigation capacity of vegetated drainage ditches.