Beef cattle and corn for silage and grasslands are other important agricultural commodities in both the Potomac Valley and the Eastern Panhandle. According to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model CBWMthe agriculture sector is responsible for forty-nine percent of the total delivered nitrogen load and sixty-two percent of the total delivered phosphorus load to the Chesapeake Bay. Over the past several years an impressive, voluntary, incentive based, agriculture nutrient and sediment reduction program has unfolded in West Virginia and significant progress has been made.
Posted by beichenliu A lot is being said these days about pollution in waterways, how to prevent it, and how to clean up pollution that started decades ago. During a summer spent doing scientific research here in Baltimore, I was able to see the effects of pollution on the Chesapeake Bay firsthand.
I visited the Inner Harbor in Baltimore several times with my friends throughout the summer — and each time, the water was a dark green color. Murky and a little smelly at times, there was no doubt that the harbor was not very healthy.
Beichen Liu Spanning 6 states and covering over 64, square miles, the Chesapeake Bay has always been important for the wildlife that it supports and the food that it provides to locals. When we think about pollution, most people tend to imagine harmful gases leaking into the air or tanks marked with skull and crossbones dumping hazardous chemicals into rivers and lakes.
But agricultural pollution is actually the leaching of nutrients necessary for plant growth into waterways. The main culprits of this kind of pollution are nitrogen and phosphorus, which are found in both chemical fertilizers and manure.
When it rains, the nutrients from these fertilizers can leach into the ground and flow into the Bay through a process called runoff. Even when there is no rain, nutrients that seep into the groundwater below can make their way into the Bay in a similar manner.
Even more concerning, perhaps, are the hazards that agricultural pollution in the Chesapeake Bay poses to public health. As a consequence of agricultural pollution, not only are animals both on land and in the water dying, but their decomposing organic matter also releases chemicals that are dangerous to people who might want to swim or play in the Bay.
This diagram depicts the process of eutrophication, in which excess nutrients cause large amounts of growth close to the surface of the water and blocks the movement of oxygen downwards, leading to the suffocation of other organisms in the water.
To go along with current land and pollution management practices which can be limited if only a few farmers adopt themresearchers are turning their attention towards nanoscience and nanotechnology as a way to combat agricultural pollution.
Only a few nanotechnology-related projects have been proposed to combat agricultural pollution specifically in the Bay so far, but one that has been gaining some attention is the use of a nano-magnetite nanocomposite for phosphate removal through magnetic fields.
Essentially, while bulk magnetite a rock mineral and common iron ore produces a very weak magnetic field, the nano-magnetite particles are supermagnetic, which allows them to attract free phosphates in solution. This property also allows for easy removal of the nanocomposite from solution using magnetic fields.
Some other potential areas of nanotechnology application include the use of carbon nanotubes for water filtrationcoating seeds with nanoparticles that can help speed up germination, and nano-enabled enhanced delivery of nutrients through either the soil or through sprays. A previous blog post explained how nanoparticles can potentially leach into the environment and potential outcomes of this exposure.
Before farmers start widely using nanomaterials in agriculture, researchers need to do more research, including working to understand the toxicity of nanoparticles to both the environment and to humans. In addition, international and domestic regulation of nanoparticle use is evolving and will affect how these new agricultural technologies will be implemented.
Nanotechnology can help reduce the human impact on the Chesapeake Bay. As with many emerging fields, there are certainly potential risks to go along with the rewards, but there is still hope!
While progress may be slow, agricultural pollution is fortunately reversible and there are plenty of options left to explore.suburban expansion began in the s, wetlands continued to be drained and filled. In the. s, nutrient management efforts began to take hold in agriculture, and in the s, Chesapeake Bay tributary strategies were put in place, setting goals for reductions of nutrient.
and . agricultural best management practice which, in the opinion of the local soil and water conservation district board, addresses the more predominant water quality issue on the adjacent land-erosion control or nutrient. landowners in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed to identify natural resource concerns and Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative (CBWI) pasture area had hydric soils, was often wet, and its run-off water flowed into.
Farming and a healthy farm economy play a critical role in local communities, in the social fabric of the region, and in the water quality of our rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. According to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model (CBWM), the agriculture sector is responsible for forty-nine percent of the total delivered nitrogen load and sixty-two percent of the total delivered phosphorus load to the Chesapeake Bay.
West Virginia's farmers have a proven history of being good stewards of the land. The Bay Act program is designed to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and other waters of the State by requiring the use of effective land management and land use planning.
At the heart of the Bay Act is the concept that land can be used and developed to minimize negative impacts on water quality.