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BSE 5404: Agricultural Nonpoint Source Pollution

Credits: 3 graduate credits


Assessment and management of agricultural nonpoint source (NPS) pollution. Precipitation, runoff, erosion, pollutant fate and transport, and best management practices. Application of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) and water-quality standards. 


Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Generalize the CleanWater Act and explain how it relates to NPS pollution issues.
  • Identify the major program and regulatory requirements of federal and state Total Maximum Load (TMDL) programs.
  • Interpret water quality standards, use attainability analysis, and apply them to the TMDL process.
  • Illustrate the major components of the hydrologic cycle and discuss how they influence NPS pollution.
  • Recognize and explain the major chemical,  physical, and biological processes affecting the rate and transport of nutrients, sediments, pesticides and other pollutants to surface and groundwater.
  • Describe the principal components and requirements of a watershed management plan.
  • Discuss the benefits and limitations of conventionally used best management practices (BMPs) for NPS pollution control.
  • Develop an NPS pollution control plan for a arm, agricultural watershed, or urban development using appropriate BMPs. 
  • Estimate NPS pollution loads and effectiveness of BMPs using simple modeling techniques.
  • Describe monitoring system requirements for NPS pollution assessment. 

Prerequisites and Corequisites

Background in physical, chemical, biological, and soil factors that affect the environment. 


Cully Hession, P.E.