Water quality improvements in the Upper North Bosque River watershed due to phosphorous export through turfgrass sod
MetadataShow full item record
The Upper North Bosque River (UNBR) watershed is under a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) mandate to reduce Phosphorus (P) due to excess nutrients in the watershed. To address these problems, Texas A&M University researchers have developed a turfgrass sod Best Management Practice (BMP) to remove excess nutrients from impaired watersheds. Turfgrass harvest of manure fertilized sod removes a thin layer of topsoil with most of the manure applied P. Plot and field scale research has demonstrated the effectiveness of turfgrass to remove manure phosphorus (P). In order to assess the impact of the turfgrass BMP on a watershed scale, the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was used to predict water quality in the UNBR watershed. The SWAT model was modified to incorporate turfgrass harvest routines to predict manure and soil P export through turfgrass sod and soil during harvest. SWAT simulations of the BMP predicted stream load reductions of 20 to 36% for P loads in the UNBR depending on the implementation scenario, an average reduction of 31% for total N and 16.7% for sediment for all the scenarios, at the watershed outlet. The SWAT model also predicted up to 176 kg/ha P removed per sod harvest when fertilized with 100 kg manure P/ha, and 258 kg/ha of P removed per sod harvest when the manure P application rate was 200 kg/ha. In addition, depending on the implementation scenario, the turfgrass BMP could export between 262 and 784 metric tons of P out of the UNBR watershed every year. Manure fertilized turfgrass has the advantage of slow releasing nutrients from the composted dairy manure, so it would not require any additional P for life. This means reduced urban non-point source pollution and lower maintenance cost compared to regular sod. These modeling simulations complement the wealth of research that shows the effectiveness of the turfgrass BMP.
Non-point source pollution
Waste application fields
Stewart, George Russell (2004). Water quality improvements in the Upper North Bosque River watershed due to phosphorous export through turfgrass sod. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from