LEAP-Legacies of Agricultural Pollutants: Integrated Assessment of Biophysical and Socioeconomic Controls on Water Quality in Agroecosystems

Widespread nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertilizer use threatens water quality and aquatic ecosystems. Agricultural best management practices (BMPs) have been implemented in an attempt to improve water quality, but time lags between BMP implementation and measurable water quality benefits are frequently observed. One reason is the slow release of N and P from legacy nutrient stores that accumulated in the landscape over decades of fertilizer application. At present, we continue to lack: (a) a comprehensive characterization of the nature, size and reactivity of agricultural N and P legacies, (b) integrated modelling tools to predict the timing and magnitude of water quality improvements achievable through BMPs, and (c) policy instruments that acknowledge time lags and balance trade-offs between short and long-term costs, benefits and risks. More

Main outputs

  • Vero, S. E., Basu, N. B., Meter, K. V., Richards, K. G., Mellander, P.-E., Healy, M. G., & Fenton, O. (2017). Review: the environmental status and implications of the nitrate time lag in Europe and North America. Hydrogeology Journal, 26, 722.

  • Van Meter, K. J., & Basu, N. B. (2017). Time lags in watershedscale nutrient transport: an exploration of dominant controls. Environmental Research Letters, 12(8), 084017.

  • Dawson, L., Persson, K., Balfors, B., Mörtberg, U. and Jarsjö, J. (2018). Impacts of the water framework directive on learning and knowledge practices in a Swedish catchment. Journal of Environmental Management, 223, 731-742.

  • Destouni, G. and Jarsjö, J. (2018). Zones of untreatable water pollution call for better appreciation of mitigation limits and opportunities. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, e1312.

  • Jensen, A. (2018) A Structured Approach to Attribute Selection in Economic Valuation Studies: Using Q-methodology. Ecological Economics.

  • Van Meter, K.J., Van Cappellen, P., and Basu, N. (2018) Legacy nitrogen may prevent achievement of water quality goals in the Gulf of Mexico. Science.

  • Zhang T.Q., Zheng Z.M., Lal R., Lin Z.Q., Sharpley A.N., Shober A.L., Smith D., Tan C.S., and Van Cappellen P. (2018) Environmental indicator principium with case references to agricultural soil, water, and air quality and model-derived indicators. Journal of Environmental Quality. 47.

  • Maavara T., Slowinski S., Rezanezhad F., Van Meter K., and Van Cappellen, P. (2018) The role of groundwater discharge fluxes on Si:P ratios in a major tributary to Lake Erie. Science of the Total Environment.

  • Mohamed, M.N., Wellen, C., Parsons, C.T., Taylor, W.D., Arhonditsis, G., Chomicki, K.M., Boyd, D., Weidman, P., Mundle, S.O.C., Van Cappellen, P., Sharpley, A.N. and Haffner, D.G. (2019). Understanding and managing the reeutrophication of Lake Erie: Knowledge gaps and research priorities. Freshwater Science 38. doi: 10.1086/705915.

  • Shafii, M., Craig, J.R., Macrae, M.L., English, M.C., Schiff, S.L., Van Cappellen, P., and Basu, N.B. (2019). Can improved flow partitioning in hydrologic models increase biogeochemical predictability? Water Resources Research 55.

  • Cheng, F.Y., Van Meter, K.J., Byrnes, D.K. and Basu, N.B. (2020). Maximizing US nitrogen removal through wetland protection and restoration. Nature, 588, 625-630.

  • Cunha, M., Marques, J., Azevedo, J. Castilho A. (2020) Understanding the Impact of a Major Hydro-Agricultural Project in Low Mondego Area (Portugal). Land, 10, 114, 2021.

  • Wellen, C., Van Cappellen, P., Gospodyn, L., Thomas, J.L., and Mohamed, M.N. (2020). An analysis of the sample size requirements for acceptable statistical power in water quality monitoring for improvement detection. Ecological Indicators 118, 106684.

  • Van Meter K., McLeod M.M., Liu J., Tenkouano G. Hall R., Van Cappellen P. and Basu N (2021) Beyond the mass balance: Watershed phosphorus legacies and the evolution of the current water quality policy challenge. Water Resources Research.

  • Van Staden T., Van Meter, K., Basu N., Parsons C., Akbarzadeh Z. and Van Cappellen P. (2021) Agricultural phosphorus surplus trajectories for Ontario, Canada (1961-2016) and erosional export risk. Science of The Total Environment, 151717.

  • “International research for the wiser use of water.” eBooklet. Innovation News Network. 30 August 2018.

  • Aziz, T., and Van Cappellen P. (2020). Valuation of Ontario’s ecosystem services and relevance for decision-making. In Canada: Past, Present and Future Perspectives (Editor: Selam A. Lund), Chapter 3, pp. 131-165, ISBN 978-53618-404-4, Nova Science Publishers, New York.

  • “Integrating environmental water research across scales and disciplines.” eBooklet. Innovation News Network. 4 March 2021.

Data and Resources

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Additional Info

Field Value
Source https://uwaterloo.ca/legacies-of-agricultural-pollutant/
Project coordinator Philippe Van Cappellen / Mickey Nielsen
Last Updated May 2, 2022, 14:32 (UTC)
Created November 21, 2018, 10:00 (UTC)
Acronym LEAP
Contact person for Dissemination activities Tatjana Milojevic/Kirsten Grant
Coordinator University of Waterloo
Partners University-of-coimbra; stockholm-university-formas;university-of-copenhagen
Access level info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
Project identifier grantAgreement/EC/
Start date unknown
End date unknown