Evaluating the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Concept and Certification Program in the Western Lake Erie Basin

Since the mid-1990s, the frequency and extent of algal blooms and loadings of dissolved phosphorus (P) in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) have been on increasing trends. Agricultural crop management has been identified as a primary source of P to the Lake. Educational programs directed at growers and nutrient service providers (e.g., agricultural retailers, crop advisers) have emphasized principles of 4R Nutrient Stewardship and the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program for nutrient service providers.

In October 2016, the Journal of Great Lakes Research published Building partnership to scale up conservation: 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program in the Lake Erie watershed, documenting water quality issues in the Western Lake Erie Basin and the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program initiative, utilizing the 4Rs framework.

 

Thank you to the 4R Research Fund for helping make this research reality. This funding, $1,250,000, was matched with funding from a host of private and public funding sources.

 

4R Research Fund

The overall goal of the 4R Research Fund is to evaluate the specific impacts of the adoption of practices associated with 4R Nutrient Stewardship, and the impact of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program itself, on crop productivity and profitability, water quality, and perceptions of growers, nutrient service providers, and residents in the WLEB. This multidisciplinary approach involves monitoring, modeling, and measurement of the impacts at the field, watershed, and lake scales.

Specific project objectives include:

  1. Monitor the impacts of 4R Nutrient Stewardship practices and the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program on crop productivity, nutrient losses, and biotic integrity from select fields, streams, and watersheds in the WLEB.
  2. Model the environmental benefits in Lake Erie (turbidity and HABs) following various levels of implementation of 4R Nutrient Stewardship practices and the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program in three WLEB agricultural watersheds.
  3. Determine the behavioral impact of 4R educational efforts and the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program on the knowledge, beliefs, and management practices of crop growers and nutrient service providers in the WLEB.
    A Descriptive Report of Beliefs, Attitudes and Best Management Practices in the Maumee Watershed of the Western Lake Erie Basin was conducted by Dr. Robyn Wilson and Dr. Brian Roe.
  4. Conduct a triple bottom line evaluation of the economic, social, and environmental performance of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program in the WLEB.
    A Cost Benefit Analysis of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program was conducted by Dr. Brian Roe and Kathryn Bender.  
  5. Integrate information from all the above to develop indicators for continued public reporting of progress and guide the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program.

Print

 CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD EVALUATING THE 4R CONCEPT & CERTIFICATION PROGRAM IN THE WLEB IN PDF FORMAT

Principal Investigator

  •  
  • Kevin KingKevin King
    USDA-ARS
    Columbus, OH

    Oversight for organization, budgeting, execution, reporting, and communication and co-lead the edge of field research in Ohio.
  •  

Co-Principal Investigators

  • Tom BruuselmaTom Bruulsema
    International Plant Nutrition Institute
    Guelph, Ontario, Canada

    Review research related to nutrient service providers and assist in interpreting how the data impacts the 4R Certification Program.
  • Rem ConfessorRem Confessor
    Heidelberg University
    Tiffin, OH

    Co-lead the linked modeling framework to scale up the benefits of various levels of 4R implementation focusing on the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) modeling portion.
  • Joe DePintoJoe DePinto
    LimnoTech
    Ann Arbor, MI

    Co-lead the linked modeling framework to scale up the benefits of various levels of 4R implementation focusing on the Western Lake Erie Ecosystem Model (WLEEM) modeling portion.
  • Laura JohnsonLaura Johnson
    Heidelberg University
    Tiffin, OH

    Watershed scale data collection and analysis from the control and treatment watersheds in Ohio and also have responsibility for leading the biotic integrity research.
  • Greg LabargeGreg LaBarge
    Ohio State University Extension
    Marion, OH

    Co-lead the surveys of growers and nutrient service providers to evaluate the decision making process with ongoing 4R Certification efforts and adoption.
  • Todd RedderTodd Redder
    LimnoTech
    Ann Arbor, MI

    Co-lead the linked modeling framework to scale up the benefits of various levels of 4R implementation focusing on the Western Lake Erie Ecosystem Model (WLEEM) modeling portion.
  • Brian RoeBrian Roe
    Ohio State University
    Columbus, OH

    Co-lead the surveys of growers and nutrient service providers to evaluate the decision making process with ongoing 4R Certification efforts and adoption.
  • Doug SmithDoug Smith
    USDA-ARS
    Temple, TX

    Lead the edge of field research on rate, time and placement of phosphorus and watershed research in Cedar Creek watershed in Indiana.
  • Carrie Volmer SandersCarrie Vollmer-Sanders
    The Nature Conservancy
    Angola, IN

    Integrate the information and identify and develop educational and outreach materials for the continued assessment and advancement of the 4R Certification Program.
  • Mark WilliamsMark Williams
    USDA-ARS
    Columbus, OH

    Co-lead the edge of field research on rate, time and placement of phosphorus in Ohio.
  • Robyn WilsonRobyn Wilson
    Ohio State University
    Columbus, OH

    Co-lead the surveys of growers and nutrient service providers to evaluate the decision making process with ongoing 4R Certification efforts and adoption.

View Reports and Research Findings (coming soon)