Maryland Leadership

Nutrient Management

Why we need the Phosphorus Management Tool

A report from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland College Park outlines support for a Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT) in the State of Maryland. 

Key points include:

  • Many surface waters in Maryland are impaired by excessive inputs of nutrients and sediments. 
  • According to the Chesapeake Bay Program watershed model, agriculture is presently the largest source of phosphorus inputs to the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Significant reductions of phosphorus inputs from agriculture will be required in order to alleviate documented water quality impairment. 
  • High soil phosphorus concentrations exist as a result of repeated phosphorus applications over many years in excess of crop removal rates.  
  • Phosphorus in runoff water and subsurface drainage is a function of the concentration and form of soil phosphorus present, field management, and hydrologic connectivity. 
  • The Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT) was developed as a practical means to identify critical areas where there is a high risk for phosphorus loss from agriculture production fields and guide effective management practices to reduce the potential for phosphorus loss to surface waters. 
  • The PMT is designed to identify site-specific relative risk for phosphorus loss and guide management to reduce this risk. 

    Learn more about the Phosphorus Management Tool's value: Why We Need the Phosphorus Management Tool Updated.pdf