Buffer zones, better regulation needed to prevent agricultural pollution in rivers, streams

Oregon State University

Greater buffer zones around bodies of water and more consistent enforcement of water protection regulations are needed to reduce agriculture-based pollution in the Western U.S., a recent review from Oregon State University found.

Prior research has shown that agricultural pollution, both from croplands and rangelands, is the cause of 48% of water-quality impairment in U.S. surface waters, which in turn disrupts habitat for fish and insects and reduces biodiversity in aquatic environments.

The OSU paper, featured earlier this month on the cover of the journal Water, reviewed more than 40 case studies on the impacts of agriculture on water quality. Specifically, researchers looked at studies that related agricultural management practices to aquatic responses in rivers and streams; and related livestock rangeland uses to biotic responses within rivers and streams as well as in riparian zones, the areas bordering rivers and streams.

Read more >