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← Cyanotoxins, Nutrients, and Public Health

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Showing Revision 50 created 07/24/2017 by kierramc.

  1. The webinar will last for about an hour.

  2. As attendees, you'll be muted
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  3. If you have questions, please type them
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  4. webinars toolbar, which should be on the
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  5. We will try to reserve about 15 minutes
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  6. questions, which we will read aloud so
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  7. The webinar is being recorded and will
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  8. reference.
  9. If you have any technical questions,
    please email Emily at
  10. ebrumit@cowatercongress.org.
  11. So now on to the topic at hand.
    Cyanotoxins, algoglams, nutrients and
  12. of course, how it affects
    Coloradoan's public health.
  13. Today, we will hear from, hopefully,
    three wonderful experts and leaders
  14. who will guide us through these topics.
  15. Djenette Khiari with the water research
    foundation.
  16. Steve Lundt, representing the Barr
    Milton Watershed association.
  17. And Troy Bauder with CSU extension.
  18. Steve has worked on lakes and reservoirs
    as a certified lake manager since 1999.
  19. Focusing on improving water quality
    through in-lake techniques and
  20. watershed projects.
  21. Today he will be talking with us about
    work reducing algolams at Barr lake.
  22. Which he has worked on along with other
    reservoirs downstream of Denver for
  23. the past 15 years.
  24. Troy Bauder is an Extension water
    quality specialist in the department
  25. of soil and crop sciences at Colorado
    State University.
  26. There he is responsible for conducting
    statewide educational and applied
  27. research programs for water quality,
    especially related to the protections
  28. of groundwater quality from
    impremest to agricultural chemicals.
  29. His research and expertise include
    nutrients and irrigation management,
  30. which he'll be talking about today.
  31. Is Dejenette on the line?
  32. I am not seeing that Dejenette has been
    able to join us.
  33. As Kaitlyn mentioned, she had a
    power outage.
  34. So we are planning, um, Steve if you
    are OK with this plan.
  35. So kind of like, let you go through her
    slides, and I will advance them for you.
  36. Does that work for you?
  37. [laughing] I will do my best. I'll have
    to remember what she was going
  38. to talk about.
  39. But I can definitely address some of the
    things also in my talk, but I can maybe
  40. fill in a little.
  41. Kaitlyn: So I'll just go through the
    slides and when you are ready for
  42. me to advance, just let me know.
  43. So Djenette was going to offer an
    introduction to cyanobacteria
  44. and cyanotoxins. So Steve can kick us off.
  45. Steve: [laughing] This is a fun game,
    to wing someone else's presentation.
  46. The whole reason why we probably have
    all these people on this webinar is to.
  47. Because we all do care about our lakes,
    our reservoirs, our rivers and it boils
  48. down to managing nutrients that
    support algae bloom that then now
  49. have gotten into the realm of toxins.
  50. This idea of blue-green algae blooms
    that produce cyanotoxins has been around
  51. for quite a while. but it wasn't until
    about 2015, I believe, with Lake Erie
  52. and the Toledo incident where they had
    to close down their drinking water plant
  53. for, what was it, close to 1 million
    people. or a half a million people.
  54. So it really brought this topic to the
    surface for our country.
  55. and so since then we've been really
    focusing on cyantoxins.
  56. what does it mean to drinking water?
  57. what does it mean to recreation?
    and all that.
  58. Colorado and around the country,
    have been focusing on nutrient standards
  59. and have been trying to come up with
    appropriate numbers for phosphorus
  60. and nitrogen. And maybe the main focus
    has been on, obviously, to control algae
  61. blooms and to make sure all the uses for
    those waters are being met.
  62. And so what's kind of come up as more of
    a higher priority is, maybe, this public
  63. health idea. So maybe let's go to the next
    slide and see what she has to say.
  64. So there are a few key blue-green algae
    that are very common.
  65. There's microcystins, Anabana,
    Aphantzomenon and those blue-greens
  66. are very typical throughout our lakes
    and reservoirs around our country as
  67. well as the world.
  68. The world health organization, a few
    years back, you know, came up with
  69. some guidelines for the toxins that
    those produce.
  70. It's really been a hard topic because
    those blooms sometimes produce
  71. the toxins and sometimes they don't.
  72. And sometimes when they die and there's
    no bloom or scum on the surface, that's
  73. when the toxins are the highest.
    So it's a really hard thing
  74. to understand about these toxins
    and the properties around them.
  75. But some of them, they impact the liver.
    They impact your nervous system.
  76. They also, you know there's even
    dermatologists that will give you
  77. skin rashes and so forth. And then
    there's some toxins that will kind
  78. of cover everything and just wreck
    havoc on your body and your system.
  79. A lot of times those toxins, have hurt
    animals like cattle and pets like dogs
  80. that will go down to a scum covered pond
    and drink from it.
  81. Typically humans are wise enough to know
    not to get into close contact or to drink
  82. water with cyanotoxins in it, with a
    bloom.
  83. But you can see from this chart, that
    some of the names of the toxins.
  84. Some of the primary organs that it
    goes after.
  85. and then the different species of algae for each of those toxins.
  86. Might talk later, for Barr Lake, we
    definitely have mirocystis, and
  87. Anabana. Those are the ones
    that I mainly have been monitoring.
  88. As well as Aphanzomenon. You
    can go to the next one.
  89. Microcystin, there's a whole sort
    of different kinds of these toxins.
  90. So there's microcystin-LR , but there's
    a whole series of different kinds of
  91. microcystin. So this is just a more
    common one. And then you can
  92. see the saxitoxin and the
    cylindrospermopsin and anatoxin-a.
  93. Some samples that I've sent off from
    Barr Lake we sent to a lab in Florida.
  94. When we had them tested for these four
    main categories, to see what we had
  95. in Barr Lake. And then also states around
    the country are starting to set up their
  96. monitoring program and how to sample
    for toxins and to give warning to people
  97. that are using it for drinking water,
    for recreation.
  98. So these are the main cyantoxins that
    we are concerned about. Next one.
  99. So in June 2015, EPA put out an
    advisory for drinking water.
  100. I know here in Colorado I've been working
    with the health department and a group to
  101. kind of figure out what that means for drinking water plants and how do you
  102. monitor, and where do you monitor and
    how do you go about this whole process.
  103. This whole new thing about another
    toxin to worry about.
  104. To figure out how to make sure it's not in
    your drinking water, how you're
  105. getting it out of your drinking water,
    how to prevent it.
  106. And then what to do, god forbid that
    it gets through the system and it's all
  107. sent out into distribution lines, what
    do you do then?
  108. So states, Colorado and others have
    been working on that since 2015.
  109. And then you see recently, EPA sent out
    in the fall of 2016 the recreational waters.
  110. And this is more applied to Barr Lake
    and to maybe more reservoirs in Colorado
  111. where there's a lot more recreational
    contact and swimming involved.
  112. And you can see those toxins and
    those levels for recreational waters.
  113. The closing period for comments, I
    believe, just closed for that process.
  114. Let's see. I think we can skip this one
    and I'll cover it with maybe my talk?
  115. I like this one actually. When I saw this,
    it definitely tells the story.
  116. Blue-greens are the only species of
    algae that can change their buoyancy.
  117. So that's why you see that one cartoon
    figure up there on the surface
  118. getting a suntan.
  119. It's blocking out the sunlight to any
    other species of algae that grow.
  120. So blue-greens have evolved over
    billions of years to really be able to
  121. do a good job of surviving in any kind
    of condition.
  122. They prefer the warmest water.
  123. They prefer the still water, so that's why
    they are more in lakes and reservoirs.
  124. And they can get to the surface.
  125. Obviously they can change their
    buoyancy and they go down at night.
  126. I've seen blooms literally come to
    the surface while I'm anchored in
  127. one spot monitoring a lake.
  128. They can go down and they can
    store phosphorus.
  129. They also have the ability to take
    nitrogen right out of the atmosphere
  130. and use that instead of ammonia or
    nitrate.
  131. So they are capable of using nitrogen right
    out of the atmosphere, which all the other
  132. species cannot do.so that's why they
    definitely can beat when nitrogen is low.
  133. They can still use that phosphorus that
    they stored up and they can use it
  134. from the air.
  135. So they have this kind of daily cycle
    of going down and coming back
  136. up to get to the sun and blocking
    everything out.
  137. Definitely, this occurs and has occurred
    at Barr Lake for many years.
  138. Next slide.
  139. I think I can get to my slides on this
    one too.
  140. We can skip this one.
  141. Definitely these are the sources of
    nutrients. If any body is dealing with
  142. lakes, with reservoirs, with water quality
    with drinking water, with waste water,
  143. these are the classic sources of nutrients.
    If any body's ever doing TMDL for nutrients
  144. and you're doing it on a watershed scale,
    these are, you're going to be looking at
  145. background, you're going to be looking
    at fertilizer application whether it's lawns
  146. or agriculture.
  147. Definitely stormwater. And then reservoirs
    and lakes, you know when a lake has zero
  148. oxygen at the sediment, the phosphorus
    can recycle, dissolve out of the sediment
  149. and get recycled into the water.
    next slide.
  150. Nice pictures. Those are all the different
    sources.
  151. So, how much is too much?
  152. A lot of times for lakes and reservoirs
    I've seen where anything under 10 micro
  153. grams per litre, you should be really
    good.
  154. Anything that gets above 10, above 20,
    then you're going to start running into
  155. signs of nutrofication and water quality
    issues with algae.
  156. So dealing with lakes, I kind of keep
    those numbers in mind.
  157. We can keep going , I think , to the
    next one.
  158. So you can see here, you know, if total
    phosphorus is below 10 then it should
  159. be very good. And then to the different levels.
    Very high or poor, you'll see over 100 and
  160. with my talk, you'll see where we are at
    Barr Lake.
  161. I'm at, right now, typically 250 at Barr Lake
    and I'm ecstatic.
  162. I'm happy because it's a lot better than
    where it used to be.
  163. So these numbers are all relevant, they
    are just sort of guidelines too, so just
  164. keep that in mind. Next slide.
  165. Source control strategies. There's a lot
    of things you can do in the reservoir to
  166. keep intraloading, to keep the phosphorus
    in the sediment.
  167. There's a lot of things you can do at
    point sources like wastewater treatment
  168. plants. They are starting to treat for
    phosphorus, tertiary treatment.
  169. There's a lot of in lake techniques.
    You can skim the algae off.
  170. That's sort of a band-aid approach. Not
    really getting at the source of the
  171. problem, which is the phosphorus.
    Many states, there's about 12
  172. states that have state-wide phosphorus
    controls on lawn fertilizers.
  173. We don't have one here in Colorado, but
    definitely that's the way.
  174. You can no longer buy phosphorus in
    detergents in laundry soap.
  175. That has definitely helped since 1970's
    with the Great Lakes and around the
  176. country is controlling phosphorus in the
    products that everybody uses.
  177. Go to the next one. Multi-barrier approach.
    Let's see. I think we'll just skip this one.
  178. Prefer to get to my talk here soon.
    [laughter]
  179. Looks like we are getting close to
    the end here. Obviously her organization
  180. has put out a lot of good information and
    hopefully you can contact Dejenette and
  181. get more information from the great things
    that she does. at the water resource
  182. foundation. How was that?
  183. Kaitlyn: thank you so much Steve,
    that was awesome!
  184. Steve: Sure.
  185. Kaitlyn: Thanks, for stepping in for
    Djenette. I'm going to go ahead and
  186. pass the controls to you for your
    presentation.
  187. Steve: Sure.
  188. Thank you.
  189. Are we good? Alright.
  190. Round 2 here. I first want to say I just
    really appreciate this opportunity to talk
  191. about Barr Lake specifically.
  192. I've worked on it for about 15 years and
    for me it's pretty exciting to see how water
  193. quality has changed over those 15 years.
  194. And so much like the talk before, going
    to talk about nutrients and how algae
  195. responds and I have definitely seen
    improvements in Barr Lake.
  196. So this is why I was definitely on board
    when I was asked to do this webinar.
  197. First off, cultural eutrophication it's
    sort of, it's a fancy way, a term of
  198. saying people mess up a lake by sending
    it too much nutrients all at once.
  199. Especially at Barr Lake. Barr Lake probably
    gets a million years' worth of phosphorus
  200. in just a few months when it fills up
    every year.
  201. So the process of lakes that can handle
    over time, thousands of years, millions
  202. of years, can transition from a
    ligatrophic lake to a mesatrophic
  203. to a hypotrophic lake where it's
    very very productive.
  204. That can occur in a reservoir in a
    matter of years. So that's the process
  205. that we all talk about and that we're
    worried about with cyanotoxins.
  206. In the news, we usually hear about
    the problems. Where it's toxins, fish kills.
  207. For Barr Lake it was high pH. It was
    all based around the idea that there's
  208. these algae blooms. But again, it's
    mislabled. Those are just symptoms,
  209. the true problem, is that it always
    goes back, every single time to too
  210. much phosphorus and nitrogen, too
    quickly to a body of water.
  211. To introduce you to Barr Lake, this is
    an aerial photo of Barr Lake.
  212. It's just north of DIA. A lot of times,
    people fly in and you can see it out
  213. your window as you are looking at
    the mountains.
  214. Just north of the rocky mountain
    arsenal wildlife refuge.
  215. There's also, you can see the community.
    There's definitely a lot of developments and
  216. growth in the area. It's not quite as
    popular as Cherry Creek and Chatfield,
  217. but this reservoir is quite different.
  218. It's been around for a little over 100 years.
    About as old as Denver, almost.
  219. The other thing is, is that, it fills up
    every winter and the main use over
  220. the years has been agriculture.
  221. While Cherry Creek and Chatfield and
    Bear Creek have been flood control.
  222. Barr Lake has been around a long
    time and a lot of water goes out
  223. there to be sent out to grow crops.
  224. And so the residence time is only 8 months.
    Basically, fills in the winter and releases
  225. during the summer and does
    this annual cycle.
  226. It is twice the size of volume as
    Cherry Creek so it is pretty big.
  227. It's had a state park since 1975. And
    the main uses now are recreation,
  228. aquatic life, agriculture and drinking
    water that was added about
  229. 15 or so years ago.
  230. The main source of water to Barr Lake
    is from the South Platte river.
  231. There's a 19 mile ditch, the Burlington
    Ditch that diverts water from the
  232. South Platte River. Typically, it sweeps
    the entire river. So any water you see
  233. downtown by the confluence at Cherry
    Creek or by REI, that's going out a
  234. couple of miles to almost the riverside
    cemetery and gets diverted and
  235. sent to Barr Lake.
  236. So travel time, if you were standing
    Downtown Denver, water going down
  237. the south platte, it probably gets to
    Barr Lake in about a day and a half.
  238. A lot of times, people think Barr Lake
    is way out northeast. People don't see
  239. it that much, but it is definitely
    connected to the urban Denver area.
  240. The ditch can also send water around
    Barr Lake to several other agricultural
  241. reservoirs. So here's the watershed.
    Back in the 90's it collected a lot of
  242. water quality data in Barr Lake as
    well as Milton Reservoir.
  243. And determined that both were
    exceeding the pH standard which
  244. is the upper limit is 9 and so they
    were going above 9.
  245. So it got put on a 303 D-List. And
    similar to Bear Creek, and Chatfield
  246. and Cherry Creek, the state helped
    organize a watershed association.
  247. We call it the Barr-Milton watershed
    association because we focus on both
  248. of those. But my main focus of this talk
    is Barr lake. The idea was that this group
  249. would bring all the stakeholders
    together.
  250. And help write a TMDL for pH. Which
    meant obviously, pH is a symptom,
  251. so you go back to phosphorus.
  252. So it's actually a phosphorus TMDL.
    To determine how you can achieve
  253. the pH standard.
  254. The big story for this watershed,
    obviously, is the number of people
  255. living just upstream of Barr Lake.
  256. It's literally about 1 in 2 coloradoans,
    live upstream of Barr. Which means,
  257. obviously, cultural eutrophication
    again and excessive amount of
  258. phosphorus that goes out to Barr Lake.
  259. This is sort of a timeline. This is a
    timeline of the phosphorus out at
  260. Barr Lake, prior to 1960's for
    about 50 years.
  261. As long as there was water in the
    South Platte coming out of Denver,
  262. they didn't care what was in it.
  263. Quantity trumped quality, so they sent
    water, anything to Barr Lake to
  264. according to it's water rights so they
    could fill it up so they could grow crops.
  265. But that finally caught up to them and
    it was labeled as the country's largest
  266. inland sewage bloom back in the
    50's and 60's.
  267. And so you can see the phosphorus
    concentrations are enormous.
  268. Then there was in the mid-60's there was
    a better job of consolidating wastewater
  269. treatments. and built a new treatment
    plant that was downstream of the
  270. burlington ditch. And then by 1975
    it became a state park. EPA actually
  271. came out and sampled it three
    times in the mid 70's.
  272. So you can see where the concentrations
    were in the 70s, just over 1 milligram
  273. per litre phosphorus.
  274. and then we started collecting a lot of
    data on water quality in the 90's, 2000's.
  275. And we collected a lot more data and that
    resulted in showing about half of the
  276. phosphorus now, about 660
    micrograms per litre.
  277. Then by 2015 we got down to 250 micrograms
    per litre and that's where I got excited,
  278. because look where we came from.
  279. From 10,000 micrograms per litre to 250.
    reason why this happened was there was
  280. the 2013 flood that happened in September
    and it came down sand creek and washed
  281. out a pipeline that used to send treated
    effluent from metro wastewater uphill
  282. and put it into the burlington ditch.
  283. That pipeline was washed away. so since
    2013 there's been no treated effluence
  284. being pumped up into the ditch to go
    to Barr Lake.
  285. So by, sort of, an act of God. It has
    definitely helped water quality.
  286. The TMDL process, the goal is to get
    to less than 100 micorgrams/litre in
  287. the growing season. So that's what we're
    shooting for. So we still have to reduce
  288. it by half again. So now we're in
    the phase of implementing the TMDL.
  289. From the TMDL, we estimated the annual
    load of phosphorus, 70,000kg would go
  290. out to Barr Lake. About 90% of that came
    from point sources, which was wastewater
  291. treatment plants and permitted
    stormwater MS4 folks.
  292. then there was background, and background
    is what's coming from Chatfield, Cherry Creek
  293. and Bear Creek. Those reservoirs release
    water into our watershed and so then
  294. we have to account for that.
  295. And then about 4,000kg comes internally
    from the reservoir.
  296. We need about a 92% reduction, which is
    huge, to get down to about 6,000kg a year.
  297. And then, you can see, it's a little more
    balanced distribution from the different
  298. sources. One thing to note though, in
    this process, we learned that even if
  299. you removed every single person in
    the watershed, all the streets, all the
  300. stormwater, removed all the point
    sources, you'd still be left with the
  301. 3,000 coming in from upstream watersheds
    and the 4,000 in the reservoir.
  302. So that's 7000kg which is more than what
    we think it will take to achieve the pH
  303. standard. And so it just means that every
    single source needs to be addressed.
  304. So how are we going to do this?
  305. A lot of dollar signs on this slide, so
    you can see it's going to take a lot of money
  306. to get down below 100 micrograms
    per litre.
  307. First off, wastewater treatment plants
    are moving to tertiary treatment.
  308. Metro wastewater, Littleton/Englewood,
    and Centennial are the three upstream
  309. wastewater treatment plants to Barr Lake.
  310. Stormwater also. Denver, just last year I
    believe, increased their stormwater bills. So they
  311. now have plans for major improvements in
    north Denver.
  312. Platte Park Hill is one of those big
    stormwater projects that will eventually
  313. help water quality in Barr Lake.
  314. We've also looked at studies for internal
    loading. Not quite as expensive, but still
  315. going to cost some money.
  316. we also have to treat the phosphorus
    that's coming out, from upstream in
  317. our watershed. So we somehow have
    to intercept that.
  318. And then of course we do public education.
  319. Here's a chart of our phosphorus.
    This is sort of a monthly timeframe
  320. of the 15 years I've been sampling.
  321. You can see the phosphorus comes in
    with the water in the winter and slowly
  322. drops out. and then increases again in
    the summer, maybe during internal loading.
  323. and then it gets lowest in October.
  324. Along with that, you get chlorphyill A.
    Chart here shows there's a big diatom
  325. growth in the spring time.
  326. the best time to go up to Barr Lake, I
    recommend, is in May and early June.
  327. There's very little growth of algae, it's
    full, and it's got great water clarity.
  328. Because as soon as 4th of July comes
    around and the big recreational season,
  329. and the growing season.
  330. Typically we would get the big blue-green
    algae bloom, the first one, the microcystis
  331. algae bloom. And the kind of crash and
    bloom, crash and bloom. And we have
  332. another big one Aphantzomenon in
    late September.
  333. So this is why Barr Lake has the reputation
    of being a blue-green algae scummy lake.
  334. When I first started in '02 sampling this
    was pretty much every summer what it
  335. would look like. It would be monoculture
    of algae bloom that would go over
  336. the entire lake. And eventually get crusty
    and scab over and cause odor issues
  337. and stuff.
    And you can see the bottom picture.
  338. The people that would mostly recreate
    would be people fishing from shore
  339. and they would just tolerate it and avoid
    those scums the best that they could.
  340. More recently, since the 2013 flood, there
    has been a big noticeable change.
  341. Open water, it's clear and back in '02
    and '03 the boat wake would be green
  342. not white and foamy. And then you can
    see last, middle of July, when we should
  343. be having a big bloom, we have really
    nice water quality compared to
  344. previous years.
  345. We did, because of the 2015 issues
    around the cyanotoxins. We decided to
  346. say "Ok let's just kind of explore this
    and get some strip tests from Abraxis
  347. and do some testing out there." I tested
    the open water as well as near shore.
  348. Open water never had any indication
    of the cyanotoxins. The only time I got
  349. it was when I would sample the shoreline
    where we see this green line of
  350. blue-green algae.
  351. Water quality's pretty good. It's not like
    the other pictures where it's completely
  352. crusted over.
  353. There was still a small less intense algae
    bloom. It was typically microcystis and
  354. some Aphantzomenon.
  355. but when we sent off those samples to
    green water, we did get a hit on
  356. microcystin. We did not have any
    Anatoxin-A, saxitoxin, or
  357. cylindrospermopsin. It was mainly
    because of the microcystis.
  358. But Barr Lake, key note is, that even
    though it's classfied as primary full
  359. contact use. The rules out there for the
    state park is that there is no swimming,
  360. no swim beach, even dogs are not allowed
    to wade into the water.
  361. The main thing is just boating and recreating,
    fishing from shore.
  362. Now clearly, people get into the water
    they roll their kayaks this was a camp
  363. here that would take kayaks out and learn
    how to roll kayaks.
  364. so there is incidental contact. but the
    thing is that we try to do a good job of
  365. educating people year round at Barr Lake
    to be algae aware.
  366. That you just want to avoid any time you
    see green surface scum on any body of water.
  367. So what we do educationally, we try to do
    our best to educate people just algae in
  368. general, water quality, phosphorus and
    the watershed.
  369. So the big plan here. If we achieve making
    sure all these uses are being met, then
  370. I think we'll be good.
  371. Obviously there's dollar signs to this.
    so if aquatic life is happy then the
  372. fish will be happy.
  373. We'll be spending less money on fixing
    the problem than just maintaining the
  374. proper conditions out there.
  375. Recreation's a big deal. And then of
    course we grow a lot of food and
  376. it's a water supply.
  377. So those are definitely all these.
    What's unique about our lake is that
  378. these uses are equally important.
  379. And if we achieve the right amount of
    nutrients coming from the watershed,
  380. then we believe the blooms will be less
    intense, not as long and that the
  381. reservoir will be a healthy system.
  382. So I believe with that, I'll end with a
    sunset picture and I thank every body
  383. for listening to me for the last
    half hour.
  384. Kaitlyn; Thank you so much Steve.
    We are going to switch to Troy.
  385. Troy I just made you a presenter and I
    believe you just un-muted yourself.
  386. So thank you.
  387. Troy: Good morning every body.
    Is my sound and screen working ok?
  388. They sure are.
  389. Troy: Ok good deal.
  390. Moderator: You are not in presentation
    mode so we can still see your next slide.
  391. Troy: Let's try that. Did that help?
  392. Moderator: No, we can still see your next
    slide but feel free to carry on.
  393. Troy: Ok, sorry about that. So you get a
    preview of what I'm talking about before
  394. I get there. We're going to switch from
    point sources, that Steve was talking
  395. about with Barr Lake.
  396. You know, system mostly impacted by point sources to non point source.
  397. My field is working with agricultural producers on reducing nutrient losses on their fields.
  398. I'll give you a little bit about the
    process. and where we are on that.
  399. So it's important to remember that ag
    nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus are
  400. in other nutrients, but in this instance
    we are talking about N and P.
  401. Are absolutely required for productive
    agriculture. If we fail to replace or
  402. supplement nitrogen and phosphorus
    that's removed by our crop systems,
  403. ultimately not only will you result in low
    and unprofitable yields,
  404. but you'll end up with a situation where you're not putting enough crop residue back into the system and you can have soil degredation.
  405. So it is important for sustainable
    agriculture.
  406. But of course we need good management.
    To prevent too much N and P in our soils
  407. and then of course the potential to
    reduce the potential for movement to
  408. surface and groundwater.
  409. So recently, in 2012, Colorado passed
    a nutrient policy called regulation 85.
  410. For agriculture it's still a non point
    source kind of voluntary approach
  411. to help incentivize producers to utilize,
    voluntarily, BMPs around nitrogen and
  412. phosphorus control in their operations.
  413. and we partnered with CDPHE, to produce
    some resources and outreach program
  414. which we are calling Colorado Ag Water
    Quality and this is our logo.
  415. And you'll find all these resources at
    that URL, coloradoagnutrients.org.
  416. the purpose of this outreach effort is
    to get the word out to growers about
  417. how reg 85 could potentially affect them.
  418. and right now it's a non point source
    voluntary policy for agriculture, but
  419. they are going to reevaluate that in
    2022 to see if we've made progress
  420. on BMP implementation, adoption and
    water quality as it relates to non
  421. point source in agriculture.
  422. I'd really encourage you to go to that
    URL. There's a couple of videos up
  423. there that do a really nice job of having
    the stakeholders, producers and people
  424. that represent them talk about how
    nutrient, using nutrients in agriculture
  425. is important to them.
  426. and practices they can use to prevent
    non point source pollution.
  427. I'd encourage you to go check that out.
  428. So the approach that I encourage and
    we do in our program is what I call
  429. participatory research and outreach.
  430. Around getting growers to implement
    BMPs voluntary.
  431. And some of the concepts that we work
    with are nutrient management with
  432. the 4R concept.
  433. We encourage BMPs around conservation
    tillage and the soil resource.
  434. And what's really important in a semi-arid
    state like colorado, where so much of our
  435. crop production relies on agriculture's
    managing that water source improved
  436. irrigation systems and advanced
    irrigation scheduling.
  437. and i'll talk about that a little bit more
    in a couple of slides.
  438. and then finally, we definitely want to
    work with our growers on the agronomic
  439. and economic feasibility of these
    practices to help them understand
  440. how they can help the bottom line.
  441. so early in the process of any localized
    or state wide stakeholder engagement
  442. around ag and water quality, it's
    important to get the stakeholders
  443. involved early in the process.
  444. And we've been doing that for many years.
    producer input; we want them to
  445. understand that buying into what is even
    defined as a best management practice.
  446. and then demonstrate their effectiveness
    and their agronomic practicality.
  447. and then try to follow up with tools and
    resources that our producers can use
  448. and understand and help them manage
    their nutrients and water better.
  449. So a little bit about BMP effectiveness
    on the ground.
  450. I talked about the 4R concept that's kind
    of become fairly popular recently in
  451. agriculture. And that is applying the
    right nutrient at the right amount, or rate,
  452. at the right place within the soil.
  453. Either spatially or within the plane of
    the root zone, at the right time. Trying
  454. to time our nutrients when the crops
    need them the most.
  455. So the uptake efficiency will be be higher.
    and the right source.
  456. Sometimes we have different nutrient
    sources, whether it be compost or
  457. commercial fertilizer. It might be
    better for the conditions on the
  458. ground or the farmer's situation.
  459. When these practices are properly
    implemented, they do in most cases
  460. increase nutrient use efficiency by the
    crop and thus prevent the potential for
  461. movement in most environments.
  462. However, as I mentioned before,
    in Colorado in our irrigated
  463. environment we know that most of our
    losses are with water, soluableized
  464. or attached to sediments.
  465. For these 4R's to work we need improved
    irrigation management to take place
  466. at the same time. In each of nutrients
    type we don't manage our water,
  467. we could be defeating the purpose.
  468. So a little bit about irrigation
    management.
  469. Like I mentioned, it's really critical
    for quatifiable reductions at the
  470. field level. Particularly with nitrate
    leaching but also with runoff.
  471. and you can have improvements in system
    upgrades moving from a furrow to a
  472. pivot to a drip system. or you can improve
    your management in terms of scheduling
  473. your water at the right time and
    right amount.
  474. and together those two practices can go a
    long way for tightly managing your water
  475. and your nutrients. and a lot of this is
    occurring organically in the watershed.
  476. a good example I like to show is some
    google earth imagery, satellite imagery
  477. from around fort morgan.
    And if you go back to 1998 and look,
  478. and this is black and white imagery. you
    can see a grid work of rectangular and
  479. square fields out there as recently as
    only 20 years ago.
  480. but if you look at an image from just a
    couple of years ago, you can see that
  481. most of those have been replaced with
    circles and center pivot irrigation systems
  482. and the opportunity to manage your
    water and your nutrients is much higher
  483. when you improve your efficiency of
    your system.
  484. a lot of this is happening already.
    growers are adopting these practices
  485. for a variety of reasons, but usually it's
    economics and labor.
  486. I mentioned we like to provide tools that
    growers can use to manage their nutrients
  487. and their water.
  488. and recently we released an online
    irrigation scheduler called WISE.
  489. This is a couple screen shots from that
    particular product.
  490. you can find that at wise.colostate.edu.
  491. it's a very user friendly, convenient
    irrigation scheduling platform at
  492. erams at colorado state university.
  493. again tying our nutrients to our
    water management.
  494. the other thing that i mentioned that is
    important for agriculture for adoption
  495. of BMPs is to show results and water
    quality is part of that.
  496. growers need to know that if they use
    these practices it will make a difference.
  497. on one side of your screen you can see
    some water quality coming off fields
  498. where we had just conventional tillage
    and on the other side of the screen
  499. you can see BMP in terms of strip tillage
    and you can see the residue that it
  500. left in place there.
    and how that residue is affecting the
  501. quality of the water coming off that plot
    compared to the other plot.
  502. and of course, the bottom line matters
    with growers. they are in business to
  503. make money. and so we try to provide
    them the costs and returns of
  504. adopting practices. our gross returns are
    represented largely by the yield on one
  505. side of your graph where you can see the
    dark brown bar of conventional, compared
  506. to the light brown bar of strip vs the green
    bar of another BMP that we tried that was
  507. minimum till on this particular project.
  508. and where the gross returns showed the
    BMP was losing a little bit of money,
  509. when we looked at the net returns because
    of the costs of inputs for that particular
  510. practice, you can see that the gross
    returns were highest with the BMP
  511. practice of strip tillage.
  512. so the bottom line matters and it's
    important to work with growers so
  513. that they know how these practices are
    going to affect that for them.
  514. Some challenges that i see or have seen in
    my career, both looking locally and
  515. nationally in terms of what we're facing in
    nutrients and water quality.
  516. in colorado, where water rights and
    policy may be perceived from keeping
  517. growers from implementing certain,
    maybe, irrigation practices.
  518. a lot of times that's more perception
    than reality but it's still out there.
  519. In many parts of the country we have some
    nutrient balances and watersheds, with
  520. high density of animal feeding
    that are off.
  521. we have more N and P coming in than
    is going out as product.
  522. I see places where perhaps our baseline
    concentrations are greater than the
  523. standard that we are going to try and
    achieve and I think that's going to be
  524. difficult with non point source
    implementation to meet those targets.
  525. And then the idea, we know that a lot
    of our water quality problems are localized.
  526. And how do you target a watershed or an
    area of agriculture without making the
  527. producers feel like they are being
    targeted, as, at the problem with
  528. finger pointing. Funding is always an
    issue. not all of these BMPs are cost
  529. neutral or positive.
  530. so getting funding through NRCS cost
    shares or other places to help implement
  531. these is an issue.
  532. and then finally, when it comes to showing
    these are working. obtaining non point
  533. source water quality and adoption data is
    going to be necessary to show agriculture's
  534. doing it's part moving forward.
  535. just to finish up here. like i said,
    supplemental nutrients are definitely
  536. necessary for sustainable agriculture.
    you can't continue to grow profitable crops
  537. without supplementing what they are
    removing from the system.
  538. They have a lot of BMPs that can help
    mitigate that loss in movement in
  539. water resources.
  540. A lot of these growers are using already
    and I think we can improve upon what
  541. we are doing as we learn more information.
  542. Incentives, tools and resources are all
    critical to help growers adopt BMPs.
  543. and i think we can all work together
    to do a better job with that.
  544. It's definitely important to engage
    growers early and often in this process
  545. and not only the growers but their
    representatives and commodity groups
  546. and the people that advise them.
  547. and that is what I had to share this morning.
    I appreciate your attention and
  548. I appreciate the opportunity to be
    on this call. So I'll turn it back to Kaitlyn.
  549. Kaitlyn: It looks like we have a few
    questions coming in, so i think Emily
  550. will read those and Troy and Steve can
    see if they have responses.
  551. Emily: Yeah, so we have a few questions.
  552. The first question comes from Lisa
    Buchanan and she asks, "How difficult
  553. was it to get buy in for upstream treatment for Barr Lake?"
  554. Steve: Well, buy-in. So starting in 2002
    we formed this watershed group that
  555. brought together the point source
    dischargers as well as the users of the
  556. lake and the owners of the lake and the
    people that use it for drinking water.
  557. So our goal from the very beginning
    was to have the consensus- driven
  558. process with this board of directors and
    this watershed group.
  559. We didn't want to have finger pointing
    and going down lawsuit routes and
  560. have twenty models trying to
    explain the system.
  561. so from the very beginning when we
    formed our watershed group and we put in
  562. our bylaws, we wanted to have buy in from
    every body that was sitting at the table.
  563. To join, and to be a member of the board,
    you had to put in $10,000 as a member
  564. and you got a seat on the board.
  565. And so the people, the dischargers, the
    upstream folks that were definitely
  566. going to be part of the TMDL as an
    allocation for phosphorus, wanted
  567. to be at the table.
  568. so you joined and then we all agree,
    that you know. We all understand this
  569. is an effort by everybody and that
    everyone's going to be paying for
  570. treatment plant upgrades, everyone's
    going to be paying for drinking
  571. water upgrades.
  572. Everybody will hopefully be enjoying
    Barr Lake and so we really tried to come
  573. together as one group and always make
    decisions based on 100% consensus.
  574. We literally do our voting with thumbs up
    or thumbs down. if we don't have
  575. everyone's thumbs up then we
    continue to work on it.
  576. Emily: thank you so much.
    we have a couple more questions.
  577. The next one is directed at Steve. "Steve
    did you alum to fix P in sediment?
  578. If so, what was the result and cost? Thanks"
  579. Steve: Sure. So alum is a very common
    whole lake treatment process. People
  580. have been using since the 70's.
  581. We have not used alum in Barr Lake.
    We have people, we've had some reports
  582. saying that alum would be a great way to
    bind up and keep that phosphorus
  583. bound up in the sediment.
    The in-canal treatment,
  584. treating the upstream phosphorus that
    comes into our watershed and then
  585. comes through and comes down the ditch.
  586. One process or a study we said was that
    we could divert that water out of the ditch.
  587. mix it with alum, separate the phosphorus,
    and then send that water into Barr Lake.
  588. We did use alum a little bit in, there
    was that picture of those corrals, those
  589. columnar corrals they did some studying
    of what would happen to cholophill A
  590. and phosphorus if phosphorus
    did get below 100.
  591. Because we've never seen it below 300.
    so we had to do some artificial
  592. testing out there. and we did use alum
    to strip out the phosphorus in the water
  593. column. just so we could see how
    the lake responds.
  594. It's about, when we did our study, it's
    about $1 per gallon and so it's just a
  595. matter of how many gallons of alum you
    want to put in to remove the amount
  596. of phosphorus.
  597. Emily: thanks. The next question comes
    from Ken Clark. "What are the
  598. opportunities. What opportunities are
    there for translating or scaling, agricultural
  599. BMPs to urban landscape practices?"
  600. Let me know if you want me to
    repeat the question.
  601. Troy: Go ahead and start Steve.
  602. Steve:The only thing I can sort of talk
    about a little bit is, some of those
  603. translations of nutrient management with
    fertilizers, the same concept can be
  604. applied to what we do with urban lawns.
  605. And so, a lot of times, its a matter of
    keeping the fertilizer on your lawn.
  606. so it's the 4R's applies to your lawn as
    well as a corn field in Weld county.
  607. Don't do it just before a storm event,
    washes on your driveway and goes
  608. into a storm drain. Maybe do some soil
    testing and maybe you don't need
  609. phosphorus to grow a lawn.
  610. Phosphorus is, as I understand, is for
    seed production and flowering. People
  611. just want a green lawn so that's the
    nitrogen part of it. Troy do you have
  612. anything else?
  613. Troy: Just would ditto that. Again when
    you look at CSU Extension's
  614. recommendations for lawns, we don't
    really even recommend phosphorus.
  615. We prefer folks stick with nitrogen
    and for a low maintenance lawn that's
  616. really at around 1 pound per
    1,000 square foot per year.
  617. Again making sure you put the right rate on,
    not too much, at the right time.
  618. and we have recommendations for those too.
  619. And the biggest one is just keeping it
    off impermeable surfaces.
  620. Emily: Great, thanks. So the next question
    is directed at Troy. From Kelly Denataly.
  621. "Do you think the rollback of the Obama
    administration's clean water rules
  622. will change the attitudes of ag producers
    towards implementing BMPs?"
  623. Troy: Hmm. [chuckle] Good one Kelly.
    I don't think so.
  624. Particularly in Colorado, since we do have
    somewhat of a statewide policy with reg 85
  625. and some of the other policies with non
    point source with agriculture.
  626. You know, our state, is so semi-arid and
    we have so few places where we have
  627. direct contact between agriculture and a
    stream, I don't think so.
  628. I think that there are a lot of economic
    incentives especially around fertilizer to
  629. apply the 4R concept to what they're
    doing that what I worry perhaps more
  630. about is cuts to conservation programs
    within agencies such as USDA-NRCS
  631. and research potential cuts as has been
    proposed to the ag research service,
  632. agricultural research service within USDA
    and our land grant system.
  633. because that's where we develop a lot of
    the information that we can translate to
  634. producers about, you know, the best way
    to manage their nutrients.
  635. I don't think it's going to be, I'm less
    worried about perhaps, changes in
  636. attitudes with growers than I am with the
    proposed cuts to our research and land
  637. grant and outreach organizations that work
    directly with producers around the country.
  638. Emily: the next question comes to us from
    Kevin McBride. and he asks "how is the?"
  639. agricultural practice of high alt hay and
    ranching different from the row cropping
  640. discussed? Is there extra nutrients appropriate BMPs?"
  641. Troy: I think I understand the question.
    What are some differences in Best
  642. management practices between high
    altitude mountain meadow production
  643. versus row crop production.
  644. They are not terribly different, it's just
    the opportunities perhaps to do things
  645. like placement like nutrients in the
    root zone or a little more limited in
  646. those established pastures.
  647. but there's other things that they can
    do up there. Timing makes a difference
  648. on when you apply fertilizer to a high
    altitude meadow system.
  649. we've done some research with Joe
    Brummer, in our department, a forage
  650. and high mountain meadow specialist, on
    timing fertilizer applications in the fall vs
  651. early spring vs late spring.
    and found that the earlier you can apply
  652. your nutrients before you apply your
    irrigation water in the spring, the less
  653. likely they are going to move out of
    those systems.
  654. I'd say the other difference is that
    those mountain meadows have a
  655. very short growing season and limited
    productivities, so they, a lot of times
  656. their productivity is not necessarily
    defined as much by how much fertilizer
  657. they apply.
    Is the short growing season whereas
  658. down here on the plains with row crop
    agriculture much longer growing season
  659. and typically much higher nutrient application rates.
  660. Emily: great thanks. The next question is
    for Troy from Lisa Buchanan. She asks
  661. "for areas where BMPs are being used, have
    you seen an improvement in downstream
  662. water quality is treated?"'
  663. Troy: Yeah that's a good question. I
    personally haven't done any, that
  664. many studies with surface water quality
    and BMP implementation on a
  665. watershed scale. The data I showed
    you was on the edge of field scale.
  666. and we definitely can show edge of
    field water quality improvements at
  667. edge of field in the work that I've done.
    nationally other folks have done
  668. watershed studies and it depends on the
    BMP systems and how well they were
  669. implemented and how well the BMP
    fit the agriculture in the area.
  670. Emily: thanks. we have time for one
    more question. This question comes
  671. from Jojo Laff and he asks "Troy in your
    experience what is the best way to
  672. agricultural members buy in for
    participation in voluntary programs?"
  673. "What do you believe are the best
    incentives for participation? Additionally,
  674. what is the best way to conduct public
    education on BMPs and the tools available?"
  675. Let me know if you want me to repeat
    any part of that.
  676. Troy: So the best, or the first part of that
    question I heard, I think I heard was
  677. "what's the best way to agricultural
    producers involved and interested in
  678. learning about and implementing
    best management practices.?"
  679. It depends on the practice to be honest
    with you. I think a lot of practices, like I
  680. showed with implementing center pivot
    irrigation instead of furrow irrigation
  681. are happening on their own because
    the incentives are already there.
  682. whether it's labor saving time or
    money or nutrients.
  683. The tougher ones I think are
    structural BMPS like filter strips
  684. and set backs and things like that may cost
    producers some time and money.
  685. I think those have, your incentives there
    are cost sharing and those kinds of things.
  686. I think in terms of getting them to the table,
    you know, working through their groups that
  687. represent them, whether they be commodity
    or livestock associations are really important.
  688. those folks are really engaged in the
    conversation and they want their
  689. producers to know what's going on.
  690. Because there's so many producers and
    there's so few of us doing this kind of work,
  691. that we can't talk to every body.
  692. But getting people around the table is really important whether it be growers or the people that represent them.
  693. Can you repeat the second part of
    that question?
  694. Emily: The second part asks, "Additionally,
    what is the best way to conduct public
  695. education on BMPs and the tools available?"
  696. Troy: yeah, that is an interesting question.
  697. because we just went through this process
    with CDPHE and stakeholders over the past
  698. year with reg 85 and the example outreach
    program that I showed early in my
  699. presentation. And we've kind of evolved
    about how we presented information to
  700. producers. It used to be a lot of factsheets
    and bulletins and written materials.
  701. and that kind of thing. and it's certainly
    going more high tech with short videos a
  702. nd websites and providing them tools
    like irrigation schedulers or nutrient
  703. management planners that they can use.
    particularly stuff that they can pull
  704. up on their smartphone when they
    are up there on their tractor with their g
  705. uidance system taking them down the row.
  706. Definitely, technology and I think the
    other place, again, is getting to the
  707. people that talk to them.
  708. getting to the local extension people,
    getting to NRCS, getting to
  709. certified crop advisers.
  710. Fertilizer dealers, people who, input
    suppliers can reach so many more
  711. growers than we can.
    Emily: great thanks so much.
  712. I believe that concludes the question
    part and I will pass it over to Katelyn.
  713. Kaitlyn: thank you to both of our
    panelists. And Steve, thanks for
  714. taking over for Dejenette. We did record
    this webinar, so you all will receive an
  715. email with links to the recording.
  716. Or you can find it on either
    of our websites.
  717. We encourage you to take the next step
    by connecting with the Colorado foundation
  718. for water education and colorado
    water congress.
  719. You should see our websites on
    your screen.
  720. Thanks to the presenters for their
    time as well as the audience for
  721. their participation and those
    wonderful questions.
  722. This concludes our webinar, thank you.