Stream Quality Impacts of Best Management Practices in a Northwestern Arkansas Basin
Water Resources Bulletin , 32 , 1996

Edwards, D.R., Daniel, T.C., Scott, H.D., Murdoch, J.F., Habiger, M.J., Burks, H.M.

A variety of management options are used to minimize losses of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and other potential pollutants from agricultural source areas. There is little information available, however, to indicate the effectiveness of these options (sometimes referred to as Best Management Practices, or BMPs) on basin scales. The objective of this study was to assess the water quality effectiveness of BMPs implemented in the 3240 ha Lincoln Lake basin in Northwest Arkansas. Land use in the basin was primarily forest (34 percent) and pasture (56 percent), with much of the pasture being regularly treated with animal manures. The BMPs were oriented toward minimizing the impact of confined animal operations in the basin and included nutrient management, dead bird composter construction, and other practices. Stream flow samples (representing primarily base flow conditions) were collected bi-weekly from five sites within the basin from September 1991 through April 1994 and analyzed for nitrate N (N03-N), ammonia N (NH3-N), total Kjeldahl N (T.KN), ortho-P (PO4-P), total P (TP), chemical oxygen demand (COD), and total suspended solids (TSS). Mean concentrations of PO4-P, TP, and TSS were highest for subbasins with the highest proportions of pasture land use. Concentrations of NH3-N, TKN, and COD decreased significantly with time (35-75 percent/year) for all sub-basins, while concentrations of other parameters were generally stable. The declines in analysis parameter concentrations are attributed to the implementation of BMPs in the basin since (a) the results are consistent with what would be expected for the particular BMPs implemented and (b) no other known activities in the basin would have caused the declines in analysis parameter concentrations.