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Polluted Runoff: Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution

Cover Crops for Agricultural Nonpoint Source Pollution Control

Growing cover crops is a beneficial practice to reduce nutrient and sediment losses from agricultural fields and improve water quality. Cover crops also increase soil health through enhancing soil organic matter content. USDA NRCS’s soil health campaign highlights the benefits of improving and maintaining America's soil. USDA has released guidelines (PDF)(6 pp, 1.2MB, About PDFfor 2014 that allows for more flexible cover crop management than in previous years.

Many organizations are working to expand cover crop implementation including the Midwest Cover Crop Council Exit the Conservation Technology Innovation Center Exitand the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). NWF's Roadmap to Increased Cover Crop Adoption (PDF)(12 pp, 1.6MB, About PDF) Exitdefines the barriers to cover crop implementation and provides a framework for addressing the barriers to accelerate cover crop adoption. NWF's Clean Water Grows Exit  report outlines six successful cover crop outreach efforts to improve water quality. States can support cover crops through their Nonpoint source management programs.

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