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Research Letters in Ecology
Volume 2007, Article ID 12571, 4 pages
Research Letter

Small Reservoir Impact on Simulated Watershed-Scale Nutrient Yield

Center for Spatial Research, Baylor University, P. O. Box 97351, One Bear Place, Waco, TX 76798, USA

Received 20 July 2007; Accepted 13 December 2007

Academic Editor: Patricia Mosto

Copyright © 2007 Shane J. Prochnow et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The soil and water assessment tool (SWAT) is used to assess the influence of small upland reservoirs (PL566) on watershed nutrient yield. SWAT simulates the impact of collectively increasing and decreasing PL566 magnitudes (size parameters) on the watershed. Totally removing PL566 reservoirs results in a 100% increase in total phosphorus and an 82% increase in total nitrogen, while a total maximum daily load (TMDL) calling for a 50% reduction in total phosphorus can be achieved with a 500% increase in the magnitude of PL566s in the watershed. PL566 reservoirs capture agriculture pollution in surface flow, providing long-term storage of these constituents when they settle to the reservoir beds. A potential strategy to reduce future downstream nutrient loading is to enhance or construct new PL566 reservoirs in the upper basin to better capture agricultural runoff.