Avoiding Pollution Swapping while Reducing Agricultural Runoff of Nitrogen to the Chesapeake Bay

Faculty, staff, and students from the Appalachian Laboratory, the Horn Point Laboratory, and Washington College and a local farmer were featured on a Maryland Public Television segment on Maryland Farm and Harvest, describing their on-farm research on the Delmarva Peninsula.  Their research shows that the water level in drainage ditches can be managed to reduce nitrate leaching to the Chesapeake Bay, where it contributes to harmful algal blooms. However, they are also measuring emissions of the potent greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide, to make sure that the increased nitrate reduction that reduces water pollution isn’t coming as a trade-off with increased greenhouse gas production. As shown in this video, preliminary results suggest only a small increase in the greenhouse gas emissions is being measured, while nitrate leaching is strongly curtailed.

Watch the video:

Additional results of this project can be found in the December 2019 AGU posters presented by graduate students, Jake Hagedorn and Qiurui Zhu and in the publication by Hagedorn et al. in the open access journal Nitrogen (https://doi.org/10.3390/nitrogen3010010).

This project was also featured in an article published in the Chesapeake Quarterly.