Agricultural Runoff Study

A new study has begun on agriculture runoff in water in Midwest streams. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Environmental Protection Agency have partnered up to examine the effects of agricultural runoff in 100 streams from Ohio to Nebraska.  They will be testing the stream water for pesticides and synthetic fertilizer nutrients, and searching for fish eggs, aquatic invertebrates, algae, and amphibians.  With this information they plan to develop models that will predict how contaminants from conventional agriculture could change the health and biodiversity of the aquatic ecosystem.  Agricultural runoff has been a large problem for stream health, as many pesticides have negative effects on aquatic animal and plant development and growth.  Researchers hope that this study will shed some light on the details of how conventional agriculture alters aquatic ecosystems and water quality.  However, the overall effects runoff and intensive farming has on water quality are already well known.  “We know in the big picture that land use – intensive land use – harms water quality,” said Peter Van Metre, one of the scientists leading this study.