Effects of agricultural land management changes on surface water quality: a review of meso-scale catchment research

Melland, A. R. and Fenton, O. and Jordan, P. (2018) Effects of agricultural land management changes on surface water quality: a review of meso-scale catchment research. Environmental Science and Policy , 84. pp. 19-25. ISSN 1462-9011


Measuring the environmental impacts of agricultural practice is critical for policy formulation and review, including policies implemented to improve water quality. Here, studies that measured such impacts in surface waters of hydrologically diverse meso-scale catchments (1–100 km2) were reviewed. Positive water quality effects were measured in 17 out of 25 reviewed studies. Successful farm practices included improved landscape engineering, improved crop management and reductions in farming intensity. Positive effects occurred from 1 to 10 years after the measures were implemented, with the response time broadly increasing with catchment size. However, it took from 4 to 20 years to confidently detect the effects. Policy makers and scientists should account for these hydrological and biogeochemical time lags when setting policy and planning monitoring in meso-scale catchments. To successfully measure policy effects, rates of practice change should also be measured with targeted water quality parameters.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2019 02:10
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2019 04:23
Uncontrolled Keywords: mitigation; mMeasures; BMP; agriculture; management practice; water quality; catchment; nitrogen; phosphorus
Fields of Research : 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0799 Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 079901 Agricultural Hydrology (Drainage, Flooding, Irrigation, Quality, etc.)
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070101 Agricultural Land Management
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960905 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Water Management
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9614 Soils > 961402 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Soils
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960608 Rural Water Evaluation (incl. Water Quality)
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2018.02.011
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/35707

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