Agricultural Land Use Impacts on Bacterial Water Quality in a Karst Groundwater Aquifer
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The impact on water quality by agricultural activity in karst terrain is an important consideration for resource management within the Appalachian Region. Karst areas comprise about 18 percent of the Region's land area. An estimated one‐third of the Region's farms, cattle, and agricultural market value are on karst terrain. The purpose of this study was to compare fecal bacteria densities in karst groundwater impacted by two primary agricultural land uses in central Appalachia. Fecal bacteria densities were measured in cave streams draining two primary land management areas. The first area was pasture serving a beef cow‐calf operation. The second area was a dairy. Neither area had best management practices in place for controlling animal wastes. Median fecal coliform and fecal streptococcus densities were highest in cave streams draining the dairy. Median fecal coliform densities in the dairy‐impacted stream were greater than 4,000 CFU/100 ml and the median fecal coliform densities in the pasture‐impacted streams were less than 10 CFU/100 ml. Median fecal streptococcus densities in the same streams were greater than 2,000 CFU/100 ml and 32 CFU/100 nil, respectively. A second dairy, with best management practices for control of animal and milkhouse waste, did not appear to be contributing significant amounts of fecal bacteria to the karst aquifer. It was concluded that agriculture was affecting bacterial densities in the karst aquifer. New management practices specifically designed to protect karst groundwater resources may be one way to protect the groundwater resource.
Agricultural Land Use, Bacteria, Water Quality, Karst, Groundwater, Aquifer
Boyer, D. G. and Pasquarell, G. C., "Agricultural Land Use Impacts on Bacterial Water Quality in a Karst Groundwater Aquifer" (2007). KIP Articles. 136.