Using Cover Crops to Reduce Nitrate Leaching in the Waverly Wellhead Protection Area
Several communities in Nebraska are facing growing concerns of increasing groundwater nitrate concentration in their municipal wells. As nitrate concentrations in the groundwater continue to increase, these communities, including Waverly (Figure 1), are facing expensive water treatment options to continue providing safe drinking water to the communities. While low nitrate concentrations in groundwater can occur naturally, the major source of groundwater nitrate in agriculturally dominated areas is nitrogen fertilizer when applied in excess amounts. The implementation of best nutrient management practices is one way to optimize nitrogen inputs, improve nitrogen use efficiency, reduce nitrate leaching to groundwater and assure a safe drinking water supply (See Agronomic Management for Reduced Nitrate Leaching).
This article was reviewed by Katie Pekarek, Water Quality Extension Educator