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Minnesota Nutrient Reduction Strategy

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  2016 10th International Drainage Symposium Conference, 6-9 September 2016, Minneapolis, Minnesota  .(doi:10.13031/IDS.20162492032)
Authors:   Wayne P Anderson, David Wall, Jennifer L Olson
Keywords:   Agriculture, drainage, Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia, Mississippi River, nitrate, phosphorus, nutrients, nutrient management, nutrient strategy.

Abstract. The Minnesota Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS) serves as a guide for the reduction of nitrogen and phosphorus in waters. The NRS is driven by the environmental needs of both waters within Minnesota and waters downstream of Minnesota, including Lake Winnipeg, the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Superior. Minnesota‘s NRS identifies the level of Best Management Practice (BMP) adoption needed to achieve a 20% reduction in nitrogen and 45% reduction in phosphorus by 2025. The NRS also includes guidance for changes needed to meet a 45% overall reduction goal for nitrogen entering the Mississippi River by 2040. Fundamental strategies for agriculture include: efficient use of nutrients, treatment of drainage waters, increases in continuous living cover, and soil conservation. Drainage ditches and tile discharges are a dominant pathway for nitrate leaching from row crop systems and entering river networks, contributing an estimated 43% of nitrogen to the Mississippi River in Minnesota. The strategy to achieve a 20% nitrogen reduction milestone will require a combination of multiple practices that includes treatment of tile drainage waters coming from over 600,000 acres of drained lands. While the details of specific practice adoption are determined at the local watershed and farm levels, the strategy especially emphasizes wetland construction/restoration, controlled drainage systems, and to a lesser extent saturated buffers and bioreactors. Successful implementation of the NRS will require broad support, coordination, and collaboration among agencies, academia, local government and private industry/organizations.

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