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Review of best management practice efficiencies in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley

Robert Kröger, Andrew Sharpley, Michell Perez

Agricultural best management practices (BMPs) can help reduce nutrient and sediment concentrations and loads leaving farm fields, which in turn can reduce negative impacts on downstream aquatic systems. For nearly three decades, significant federal investment in technical and financial assistance has been provided to implement farm BMPs. But few conservation programs attempt to estimate the amount of nutrient and sediment reduction resulting from cost-shared practices, let alone potential positive effect on local or regional water quality. In the same context, conservation practices are being advocated, implementation is being encouraged, and environmental stewardship being emboldened towards the 2015 Gulf of Mexico restoration efforts of 45% reduction in TN and TP. Often times, resource managers are basing decisions on limited nutrient data sets and have limited tools to help with strategy development. Similarly, high profile modeling efforts (SUSTAIN, SULIS, etc.) are only utilizing mathematically derived BMP efficiency data, or best professional judgment, instead of site or state specific percentages of effectiveness from validated, scientifically defensible data. The current study provides a review of the scientific literature to determine nutrient reduction efficiency percentages for BMPs in row-crop agriculture within the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (LMAV), an area with high delivery of both nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) to the Gulf of Mexico. The review consisted of multiple agricultural and biological database searches, a BMP effectiveness tool, and outreach to scientists. It is imperative that region specific BMP efficiencies be created for effective water quality improvement.


  • Kröger, R., Perez, M., Walker, S., Sharpley, A. 2011. Review of best management practice efficiencies in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley. In review—Journal of Soil and Water Conservation.
  • Kröger, R., Sharpley, A., and Poganski, B. 2011. Best management practices as tools for nutrient reductions: what do we really know? Poster given at the National Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry meeting, Boston, MA, November 14-17th.

Gulf of Mexico Research

Completed Projects