Lincoln, Neb. — Managing impacts to water quality in production agriculture is the theme for the Nebraska Water Center’s annual public water symposium at Nebraska Innovation Campus on Oct. 26 and 27.
“This is one of our state’s most important ongoing challenges and one that effects all Nebraskans. It is an area where our university shines in the depth and breadth of research and Extension faculty addressing the many aspects of this challenge,” said Chittaranjan Ray, director of the Nebraska Water Center, part of the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska.
Speakers for the day and a half symposium will come both from within and outside of the university. Many are noted experts from state, federal and local agencies, as well as from the private sector.
“We are also fortunate in Nebraska to have a very rich tradition of cooperation along broad public and private lines in looking for workable solutions to reducing nitrate use and potential for contamination of our precise water supplies,” Ray said.
Bruce Lindsey of the U.S. Geological Survey in Harrisburg, Penn. opens the symposium with a national perspective on the risk of nitrate in U.S. groundwaters, followed by Steven Wolf of Lincoln’s JEO Consulting Group on overcoming communication challenges for nitrate abatement.
Additional first morning topics delve into nitrate in groundwater and municipal systems, managing nitrogen at the Natural Resources District level, water quality in Nebraska and Nebraska public water supplies.
In the afternoon talks shift to nitrogen transformation and other complications from nitrate use, such as balancing nitrogen inputs and outputs, storing nitrogen in the critical vadose zone, co-contaminants, and age dating sources.
A seven-member panel concludes the first day’s discussions by looking at the science, regulation and culture of water quality in Nebraska.
On Friday, Oct. 27, the symposium moves into best management practices (BMPs) for reducing nitrogen loss and use through budgets for landscapes, cover crops, and BMPs for animal operations.
Closing topics will look ahead to recommendations for moving forward, such as crop yield versus crop inputs; economy, environment and society for nitrogen management, nutrient stewardship and the role education, outreach and extension can play in comprehensive nitrogen management into the future.
Public registration is $295 or $195 for university faculty. Students attend free. Registration details are online at watercenter.unl.edu
The symposium is co-sponsored by the Nebraska Water Center the USGS Nebraska Water Sciences Center and the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute.