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Lake Winnipeg Basin: Reducing agricultural runoff

The flow of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus into lakes and rivers can increase algal blooms and reduce water quality, a process known as eutrophication. This is a problem on Lake Winnipeg, Canada's sixth largest freshwater lake, and the many waterbodies throughout its drainage basin. The majority of the land in the Lake Winnipeg basin is agricultural, so Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientists are developing processes to increase phosphorus and nitrogen efficiency, reduce runoff, and retain these valuable nutrients on farmland.

The team has established a network of 25 field monitoring sites throughout the Lake Winnipeg watershed area to evaluate nutrient losses and land management impacts. They are also collaborating with local land owners to demonstrate novel water storage options and ways to reduce peak flood flows. The team is conducting an economic assessment and modelling of yield, soil, and management data to develop precision agriculture tools and conservation practices.

By identifying new technologies and best management practices, the AAFC team will increase nutrient use efficiency and crop yield, develop conservation practices, and ultimately, increase profitability for producers.

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