Agricultural Impact

Agriculture is the nation’s leading cause of impaired water quality, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Runoff from barnyards, feedlots and cropland carries away manure, fertilizers, ammonia, pesticides, livestock waste, oil, toxins from farm equipment, soil and sediment.

Fertilized soils and livestock can be significant sources of gaseous, nitrogen-based compounds like ammonia and nitrogen oxides. Ammonia can be harmful to aquatic life if large amounts are deposited to surface waters.

Farmland Runoff:  If you own or operate farmland around Shipshewana lake, please be aware of the impact your business can have on the lake.  Animal waste and chemicals from fields end up in the lake.  Animal waste can contain e-coli and chemicals contain nitrogen and phosphorus, both of which increase weeds and algae growth in lakes. Below are some steps you can take to help protect the lake.

  • Nutrient management: Applying fertilizers in the proper amount, at the right time of year and with the right method can significantly reduce the potential for pollution.
  • Cover crops: Planting certain grasses, grains or clovers can help keep nutrients out of the water by recycling excess nitrogen and reducing soil erosion.
  • Buffers: Planting trees, shrubs and grass around fields, especially those that border water bodies, can help by absorbing or filtering out nutrients before they reach a water body.
  • Conservation tillage: Reducing how often fields are tilled reduces erosion and soil compaction, builds soil organic matter, and reduces runoff.

Livestock in ditches:  Keeping animals and their waste out of streams keeps nitrogen and phosphorus out of the water and protects stream banks.