Vegetative filter strips (VFS) reduce losses of nutrients, solids, and other materials from land area treated with fertilizers and manures. A number of models are available that simulate nutrient and sediment transport in VFS. While VFS effectiveness is considered to depend on lengths of pollutant source area and VFS areas, few published studies have tried to validate these models using variable pollutant source area and VFS area. The objective of this study was to validate an event-based nutrient transport model (Chaubey et al., 1995) that simulates soluble nutrient transport in VFS. This model links three sub-models: modified Green-Ampt infiltration, non-linear kinematic wave overland flow routing, and a nutrient transport component. The nutrient transport component considers infiltration as the only mechanism of pollutant removal from runoff. Data from a field plot experiment were used to validate the model. The model was executed using an uncalibrated runoff component, a calibrated runoff component, and measured runoff. The concentrations of parameters entering the VFS from three different poultry litter application lengths (6.1, 12.2, and 18.3 m) were not significantly different. However, predicted concentrations at subsequent lengths were different for all the three poultry litter application lengths. This finding was consistent with the observed data. Model execution with the uncalibrated runoff component, calibrated runoff component, and measured runoff underpredicted concentrations and mass transport at various locations along the length of the VFS. Underprediction of concentration was judged to be the reason for underprediction of mass transport. The agreement between the observed and predicted concentrations and mass transport, however, improved when runoff predictions from the calibrated runoff component and measured runoff were used. This suggests that accurate prediction of infiltration and runoff is critical for accurate prediction of concentration mass transport. Furthermore, since concentration was underpredicted even when measured runoff was used, this study suggests that the nutrient transport component might be improved, possibly by including nutrient removal mechanisms other than infiltration.

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Published in Transactions of the ASAE, v. 41, issue 1, p. 89-95.

© 1998 American Society of Agricultural Engineers

The copyright holder has granted the permission for posting the article here.

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