of single-objective best-management
practices is not the most cost-effective approach for soil and water quality
programs at the farm level. inherent links exist among the components of a
system and the larger landscape. Adoption of a
increases soil cover to reduce erosion, for example, may require changes in the
pesticides applied. Failure to
methods, timing, and amounts of
recognize and manage these links increases the cost, slows the rate of adoption,
and decreases the effectiveness of new technologies or management methods.
Research and development of innovative, economically
systems should be accelerated to meet long-term soil and water
quality goals. Barriers to achieving this should be identified and removed.
increasing the cost-effectiveness of cost-sharing will require an increased
commitment to education and technical assistance. We have not attempted
to quantify the costeffectiveness of public education programs outside the
realm of cost-sharing. However, we feel that enhanced educational efforts
can be highly cost-effective and should be given high priority as a means of
achieving nutrient reductions goals. Although the public sector certainly has
an important role to play, mechanisms should be developed to augment public
sector efforts to deliver technical assistance with nonpublic sector channels and
to certify the quality of technical assistance provided through these channels.
Crop-soil consultants, dealers who sell agricultural inputs,
laboratories, farmer-to-farmer networks, and nonprofit organizations are
increasingly important sources of information for producers. In many cases,
these private sources of information have become more important direct sources
of advice and recommendations than public sources. For example, 56 percent of
farmers surveyed in five counties scattered throughout the country identified
fertilizer dealers as their primary information source (National Research Council,
1993). This tendency, however, is not thought to be representative of the Tar-
Soil and water quality programs need to take
Pamlico basin (L. Danielson,
of the capacity of the private and nonprofit sectors to deliver
information to producers.
The Nutrient Trading Program is
take a proactive approach
to restoring and protecting land uses and land cover types that provide
positive water quality benefits. The cost-effectiveness of this approach in
reducing nutrient loading needs to be determined. In particular, additional
efforts are needed to encourage protection and restoration of river corridors.
While we have not attempted to quantify the cost-effectiveness of wetland or
riparian protection and restoration, there is a growing awareness of the
importance of doing so in reducing
source loading (Dodd et al., 1993).
Buffer zones can include natural riparian corridor vegetation (vegetation along
waterways); simple, but strategically placed, grass strips; or sophisticated artificial