Project – 6 – Review of the Literature on Control of Nutrients in Several Watersheds

  • Location: University of Manitoba
  • Research Team: Dr. Gary Johnson, Dr. Donald Flaten and Dr. Derek Brewin
  • Duration: January 2010 – March 2010

Brief Project Description/Overview: 
The problem of nutrient (phosphorus and nitrogen) related pollution from a mix of agricultural and non‐agricultural sources is not a new one, but in the Lake Winnipeg watershed we are seeing it emerge once more. The proposed literature review is an attempt to look at the nature of the problem in several watersheds where nutrient loading has been the problem, look at both in place and proposed policy measures for solving the nutrient‐loading problem, and examine the success at reducing the level of relevant nutrient or nutrients.

The potential watersheds that might be included would ideally have three attributes. First, the watershed must have a long enough history of physical and social scientific research that literature exists regarding the assessment of the problem prior to policies and assessment of the results after the implementation of the policies. Second, agricultural contribution to nutrient loading from both crop cultivation and animal husbandry is significant, but not the only source of the nutrient or nutrients thought to cause the problem. Finally, the more similar to Lake Winnipeg with regard to size, the type of nutrient or nutrients and their sources the better. This latter attribute may be more difficult to find, given the unique nature of watersheds. Some potential watersheds that will be looked at are Lake Erie, Lake Champlain, Lake Balaton, the Thames River and Estuary, the Delaware River and Estuary, the Chesapeake Estuary and its main river sources, and the Baltic Ocean.

The method will be to narrow down the watersheds to at least two but no more than four watersheds based on the attributes in the discussion of potential watersheds. Once the choice of watersheds has been made then an annotated bibliography or inventory of relevant literature from the physical and social sciences regarding nutrient loading and policies in place to reduce the nutrient loading from all sources will be done. The focus with regard to agricultural loading will not only be on policies, but also on beneficial management practices (BMPs) put into place with regard to reducing agricultural nutrient loading. The final phase of the project will be a more detailed review of that literature to evaluate its potential relevance to Lake Winnipeg.