Assessment of a turfgrass sod best management practice on water quality in a suburban watershed. Academic Article uri icon


  • The disposal of manure on agricultural land has caused water quality concerns in many rural watersheds, sometimes requiring state environmental agencies to conduct total maximum daily load (TMDL) assessments of stream nutrients, such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). A best management practice (BMP) has been developed in response to a TMDL that mandates a 50% reduction of annual P load to the North Bosque River (NBR) in central Texas. This BMP exports composted dairy manure P through turfgrass sod from the NBR watershed to urban watersheds. The manure-grown sod releases P slowly and would not require additional P fertilizer for up to 20 years in the receiving watershed. This would eliminate P application to the sod and improve the water quality of urban streams. The soil and water assessment tool (SWAT) was used to model a typical suburban watershed that would receive the sod grown with composted dairy manure to assess water quality changes due to this BMP. The SWAT model was calibrated to simulate historical flow and estimated sediment and nutrient loading to Mary's Creek near Fort Worth, Texas. The total P stream loading to Mary's Creek was lower when manure-grown sod was transplanted instead of sod grown with inorganic fertilizers. Flow, sediment and total N yield were the same for both cases at the watershed outlet. The SWAT simulations indicated that the turfgrass BMP can be used effectively to import manure P into an urban watershed and reduce in-stream P levels when compared to sod grown with inorganic fertilizers.

published proceedings

  • J Environ Manage

author list (cited authors)

  • Richards, C. E., Munster, C. L., Vietor, D. M., Arnold, J. G., & White, R.

citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors

  • Richards, CE||Munster, CL||Vietor, DM||Arnold, JG||White, R

publication date

  • January 2008