Laurence Picq

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Chansheng He

Second Advisor

Dr. Emerson

Third Advisor

Dr. Peaslee

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Lake Macatawa, on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, has been impaired by nonpoint source pollution from agriculture. A Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), developed by the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, established a 60% reduction goal in phosphorus load by 2008. While agricultural best management practices have been implemented in the past three years, the local watershed organization has not had the means to evaluate the effectiveness of these practices, and to assess progress made towards the phosphorus reduction goal.

A simulation model, the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was chosen to simulate phosphorus load, and quantify the long-term effects of several agricultural management practices on water quality. A detailed land use/land cover map was produced from a 2002 Landsat ETM+ image. The model was calibrated for flow. Attempts were made to calibrate the model for sediments and phosphorus. Several scenarios - including wetland restoration, implementation of filter strips and no-till were simulated over a 10-year period.

Results showed that only the implementation of no-till practices and filter strips throughout the watershed would bring a 60% reduction in phosphorus load. These results need to be further verified in the field to be used as partial basis of decision making.

Included in

Geography Commons