Barges carrying agricultural products aren’t the only traffic on the Mississippi River. Nutrients and sediment from across the Mississippi River Basin travel down the river until reaching the Gulf, where they linger and create low oxygen "dead zones" in which many fish cannot survive.
Monitoring of the Gulf hypoxic zone has shed some light on the important connections between agricultural practices and water quality. Although some practices contribute to the problem, other practices – like cover crops – provide a much needed solution.
In a review of 98 publications, SARE and the University of Missouri staff identified how cover cropping influences soil and nutrient losses from agricultural fields, water infiltration and soil organic matter. SARE's new Cover Crops and Water Quality resource series includes free materials to help educators, farmers and others learn and share how cover cropping can improve water quality.
Cover Crops and Water Quality resources include five fact sheets, three infographics and a PowerPoint presentation template that can be downloaded and used for outreach and educational purposes.