Journal of
Agricultural Extension and Rural Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Agric. Ext. Rural Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2170
  • DOI: 10.5897/JAERD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 387

Full Length Research Paper

Assessing the effectiveness of water quality education programs in controlling soil phosphorus levels in the Beaver River Watershed, Utah

R. Mark Nelson
  • R. Mark Nelson
  • Utah State University, Logan Utah, United States.
  • Google Scholar
Grant E. Cardon
  • Grant E. Cardon
  • Utah State University, Logan Utah, United States.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 13 June 2013
  •  Accepted: 12 March 2014
  •  Published: 01 April 2014


Federal Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) 319 Program funds were obtained to educate landowners on how to make improvements on their farms that would help keep manure and P-laden sediments out of the Beaver River Watershed in Utah.The primary objective of this study was to employ an integrative evaluative tool (long-term monitoring of soil P test levels) to evaluate the effectiveness of the educational efforts.The study hypothesis was that educational efforts would result in a significant change in soil P test level, thereby indicating a significant impact of the educational campaign.Over the study period between 1998 and 2009, 12% of growers sampled in the study region adjusted their P management programs so that proper nutrient sufficiency could be attained and maintained in their soils.  Despite the inroads gained in effecting positive changes in grower practice over the study period, many growers (especially those whose fields were in close proximity to their dairy operations) were more affected by the high direct cost of spreading manure waste over a larger area, and ended up applying more P than the crop required.  This over-application was evidenced by a little over 14% of study sites (7 of 49) showing increases in Olsen P levels of greater than 50 mg/kg over the study period.  The strong influence of economic considerations on P management must be addressed in future educational programs.


Key words: Best management practices, water quality, phosphorus, manure, soil testing, fertilizer management, riparian buffers, agricultural extension.