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Extramural Research

STAR Research Helps Protect Chesapeake Bay from Nutrient and Steroid Runoff

STAR grantees at the University of Maryland Wye Research Center have shown the value of tilling poultry fecal litter into the soil to reduce runoff impacts.  These findings have been incorporated into new management requirements as a part of Maryland’s Watershed Implementation Plan which now states that poultry fecal litter must be mixed into the soil, through tillage practices, no later than 48 hours after application.  This new regulation will decrease poultry hormone and nutrient run off into the Chesapeake Bay.

Lead investigator, Dr. Dan Fisher hypothesized that since steroids persist at high concentrations in poultry litter, that run off from fields where poultry litter is applied will impact aquatic organisms within receiving waters. Previous research, showed that fecal steroids in poultry litter reach waterways by rain-induced runoff and could lead to feminizing male fish. Fisher found that different agricultural management strategies can affect steroid concentrations in runoff and receiving waters.  He demonstrated that both vertical tillage and below ground litter injection provide reductions in steroid and nutrient concentrations in runoff  when compared to no-till practises.

For more information on the funded project site please visit: Transport/Fate/Ecological Effects of Steroids from Poultry Litter & Evaluations of Existing/Novel Management Strategies

For more information on the new Nutrient Management regulations, please visit:
Maryland Register Publishes Final Notice to Adopt Nutrient Management Regulations Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer

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