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Southern Regional

Nutrient management has become increasingly important as off-site movement of improperly applied commercial fertilizers and animal wastes have become evident. Major regional problems associated with nutrient loss such as hypoxia in the Mississippi River basin, increased nitrate levels in the Suwannee and the St. Johns Rivers and high phosphorus levels in the Okeechobee Basin in Florida, etc. have resulted in both voluntary and mandated implementations of the Best Management Practices (BMPs).

The most recent of them are numeric criteria and specific TMDLs for impaired watersheds developed across the southern states to minimize the nutrient impacts. Most recent state soil testing programs are unable to conduct correlation/calibration studies and get needed support to adapt to potential changes and advances in crop varieties and/or cropping systems, in different agro-ecological environments.

Since the Southern region shares major physiographic features such as coastal plain soils and watersheds such as the Suwannee River Watershed that transcend political boundaries, the Southern Regional Water Quality Program under the USDA-NIFA (formerly USDA-CSREES) has been providing leadership through Regional Nutrient Management Program for effective coordination of extension programs and educational events for minimizing nutrient related impacts on the environment.