Literature Review and Synthesis of the Effectiveness of Cover Crops for Water Quality Management in the Upper Mississippi River Basin

Literature Review and Synthesis of the Effectiveness of Cover Crops for Water Quality Management in the Upper Mississippi River Basin

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Author: Chris Swann

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Last Updated: 09-11-2017 20:52

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Christianson, R, Fox, J, Wong, C, Caraco, D, Daniels, A, Law, N, Stack, B. 2017. Literature Review and Synthesis of the Effectiveness of Cover Crops for Water Quality Management in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. Center for Watershed Protection, Ellicott City, MD.

Cover crops, water quality, basin

This work was funded by the Walton Family Foundation and synthesizes the ‘state of the science’ regarding the use of cover crops as agricultural best management practices for water quality management. This work summarizes the effects of grasses, legumes, non-leguminous broadleaves, mixes, and living mulches on water quality, specifically nutrients, through the examination of several factors, including soil characteristics, health, and crop yield. The effect of cover crops is quite variable on site-specific field conditions, but the literature suggests a positive trend in the overall environmental benefits. The goal of this work is to identify the knowledge gaps for these cover crops in the Midwestern United States to guide future research.

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