Changing cropping systems in impaired watersheds can produce water quality gains

Read the full story from Penn State University.

Growing the right crop in the right place within an impaired watershed can achieve significant water quality improvements, according to Penn State researchers, who conducted a novel study in the drainage of a Susquehanna River tributary in an agricultural area in southeastern Pennsylvania.

The research may reveal a potential path for restoring the troubled Chesapeake Bay, said Patrick Drohan, associate professor of pedology in the College of Agricultural Sciences and one of the study’s authors. The bay — which long has been impaired in large part by nutrients and sediment washing off crop fields and getting into surface waters that feed it — needs bold solutions, such as changing cropping systems, he suggested.

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