Artificial sinks to treat legacy nutrients in agricultural landscapes

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Legacy nutrients introduce a critical time lag between changes in nutrient application or implementation of best management practices (BMPs) and observable reductions in loads delivered to downstream waters. Nitrogen and phosphorus leached through soils into groundwater may take decades to eventually be discharged to surface waters and, consequently, often prevent the attainment of water quality improvement goals. For example, the National Resource Council has cautioned that in the Chesapeake Bay watershed legacy nutrients, particularly nitrogen (N), could delay achievement of nutrient load reductions needed to meet Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements.. Groundwater discharge transporting legacy N has been identified specifically as a significant nutrient source to the Bay. Unfortunately, most existing BMPs cannot remediate these nutrient reservoirs and the Chesapeake Bay Program has not active policy to address legacy nutrients; better management options are needed...