The principles of mass balance, compartment-flux diagramming, and dynamic simulation modeling are integrated to create computer models that estimate phosphorus (P) export from large-scale watersheds over long-term futures. These Watershed Ecosystem Nutrient Dynamics (WEND) models are applied to a 275,000 ha dairy-documented watershed and a 77,000 ha poultry-dominated watershed in northeastern USA. Model predictions of present-day P export loads are consistent with monitoring data and estimates made using P export coefficients. For both watersheds P import exceeds P export and P is accumulating in the agricultural soils. Agricultural and urban activities are major contributors to P export from both watersheds. Continued urban growth will increase P export over time unless wastewater management is substantially enhanced and/or rates of urban growth are controlled. Agriculture cannot rely solely on the implementation of increasingly stringent conservation practices to reduce long-term P export but mustconsider options that promote P input/output balance. The WEND modeling process is a powerful tool to integrate the diversity of activities in watersheds into a holistic framework. Model outputs are suited to assist managers to explore long-term effects of overall watershed management strategies on P export in comparison to environmental and economic goals.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.