Presentation Abstract

The Nooksack-Fraser transboundary area (2639 km2) is home to communities with a strong base in farming, fisheries and outdoor recreation. Water quality issues impact parts of this area, where sewage effluent and animal waste are potential sources of both fecal coliform bacteria (FCB) and nitrogen (N) in the environment. Excessive nitrogen loading can lead to eutrophication in coastal areas, and nitrate contamination of groundwater. The Nooksack-Fraser Transboundary Nitrogen (NFT-N) project was developed to determine the sources and fates of N in the watershed using data on energy use, transportation, fertilization, wastewater treatment plants, livestock operations, wildlife and more. This project brings together stakeholders, agencies, and scientists on both sides of the international border to achieve a first characterization of N inventories and fluxes across the watershed. A comprehensive N assessment can benefit N management by providing key information on source distribution. Focusing on agricultural activities first, we estimate using crop-specific fertilizer recommendations that the requirements for synthetic fertilizer N on the US side of the watershed ranges between 1855 and 3184 metric tons (MT). Application of livestock manure to crops is equal to, or perhaps more than, fertilizer requirements, ranging between 1926 and 3963 MT N per year. The combined septic and sewage input of N falls between 71 and 84 MT per year, while atmospheric deposition contributes 527 MT N per year. Preliminary results for the US side demonstrate the importance of N inputs from agriculture. Results will be refined by updating values, adding other components, integrating with the existing Canadian budget, and understanding connections between inputs and N fates in ground and surface water. The budget will be used to examine the impacts of N policy and management across the boundary (US-Canada), and to support future efforts in developing sustainable N use and management plans in the region.

Session Title

British Columbia / Washington Collaboration on Transboundary Water Quality: Fecal Coliform Bacteria and Nitrogen in the Nooksack River

Keywords

Nitrogen inventory, Water quality, Land use, Management, Dairy

Conference Track

SSE9: Transboundary Management and Policy

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE9-341

Start Date

6-4-2018 9:30 AM

End Date

6-4-2018 9:45 AM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 6th, 9:30 AM Apr 6th, 9:45 AM

Nitrogen Inventory in the Nooksack-Fraser Transboundary Watershed

The Nooksack-Fraser transboundary area (2639 km2) is home to communities with a strong base in farming, fisheries and outdoor recreation. Water quality issues impact parts of this area, where sewage effluent and animal waste are potential sources of both fecal coliform bacteria (FCB) and nitrogen (N) in the environment. Excessive nitrogen loading can lead to eutrophication in coastal areas, and nitrate contamination of groundwater. The Nooksack-Fraser Transboundary Nitrogen (NFT-N) project was developed to determine the sources and fates of N in the watershed using data on energy use, transportation, fertilization, wastewater treatment plants, livestock operations, wildlife and more. This project brings together stakeholders, agencies, and scientists on both sides of the international border to achieve a first characterization of N inventories and fluxes across the watershed. A comprehensive N assessment can benefit N management by providing key information on source distribution. Focusing on agricultural activities first, we estimate using crop-specific fertilizer recommendations that the requirements for synthetic fertilizer N on the US side of the watershed ranges between 1855 and 3184 metric tons (MT). Application of livestock manure to crops is equal to, or perhaps more than, fertilizer requirements, ranging between 1926 and 3963 MT N per year. The combined septic and sewage input of N falls between 71 and 84 MT per year, while atmospheric deposition contributes 527 MT N per year. Preliminary results for the US side demonstrate the importance of N inputs from agriculture. Results will be refined by updating values, adding other components, integrating with the existing Canadian budget, and understanding connections between inputs and N fates in ground and surface water. The budget will be used to examine the impacts of N policy and management across the boundary (US-Canada), and to support future efforts in developing sustainable N use and management plans in the region.