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Estimating nitrogen inputs, storage, and exports for a small watershed in the upper Mississippi river basin, USA


International Journal of Hydrology
Herb Manifold,1Joe Magner,2Jerry Sweeten3

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Abstract

Nitrogen contributions to the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone from agriculture watersheds are well documented. Beargrass creek watershed a 5,985hectare agriculturally dominated watershed in northern Indiana was instrumented to collect water quality data. A nitrogen budget was developed to account for net input and export of nitrogen from the watershed. Inputs consisted of fertilizer application, soil mineralization, and atmospheric deposition. Exports consisted of nitrogen removal in grain and stream exportation. Water quality testing at two gage stations, fourteen access tubes, and nine drainage tiles determined where excess nitrogen was stored. Nitrogen inputs was estimated at 1,004,213kg/year or 168 kg/ha/year in 2015. Total nitrogen exports accounted for 860,250kg/ha or 144kg/ha/year: with 30% of the applied nitrogen removed by Beargrass Creek through baseflow, tile flows, and storm event runoff.

Keywords

nitrate-nitrogen, agriculture, budget, water quality

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