Agricultural phosphorus and water quality
We value clean water for many reasons. We depend on lakes and streams for drinking water and recreation. Wildlife depends on habitats created by healthy streams, wetlands and lakes. There is strong support in both rural and urban communities for efforts to maintain and improve water quality. Water quality has declined in some parts of Missouri in the 1990s. The effect of agriculture — particularly the effect of phosphorus from agriculture — in surface water quality has become a focal point for controversy. Does phosphorus reduce water quality? Is the problem nitrogen or phosphorus? What fields and practices cause high phosphorus in agricultural runoff? How can farmers protect our water quality from excess phosphorus? This guide demonstrates the complexities of reducing losses of phosphorus from agricultural land and the range of options available to help reach water quality goals.