Trends in the concentrations and agricultural use of four herbicides (atrazine, acetochlor, metolachlor, and alachlor) were evaluated for major rivers of the Corn Belt for two partially overlapping time periods: 1996-2002 and 2000-2006. Trends were analyzed for 11 sites on the mainstems and selected tributaries in the Ohio, Upper Mississippi, and Missouri River Basins. Concentration trends were determined using a parametric regression model designed for analyzing seasonal variability, flow-related variability, and trends in pesticide concentrations(SEAWAVE-Q).TheSEAWAVE-Qmodel accounts for the effect of changing flow conditions in order to separate changes caused by hydrologic conditions from changes caused by other factors, such as pesticide use. Most of the trends in atrazine and acetochlor concentrations for both time periods were relatively small and nonsignificant, but metolachlor and alachlor were dominated by varying magnitudes of concentration downtrends. Overall, with trends expressed as a percent change per year, trends in herbicide concentrations were consistent with trends in agricultural use; 84 of 88 comparisons for different sites, herbicides, and time periods showed no significant difference between concentration trends and agricultural use trends. Results indicate that decreasing use appears to have been the primary cause for the concentration downtrends during 1996-2006 and that, while there is some evidence that nonuse management factors may have reduced concentrations in some rivers, reliably evaluating the influence of these factors on pesticides in large streams and rivers will require improved, basin-specific information on both management practices and use over time. ?? 2009 American Chemical Society.
Additional publication details
Trends in concentrations and use of agricultural herbicides for Corn Belt rivers, 1996-2006
Environmental Science & Technology
North Dakota Water Science Center, Dakota Water Science Center