Examination of potential environmental impacts on surface water associated with cranberry farming in Newfoundland and Labrador and development of best management practices for impact mitigation

Carey, Richard (2017) Examination of potential environmental impacts on surface water associated with cranberry farming in Newfoundland and Labrador and development of best management practices for impact mitigation. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The commercial cranberry industry has a significant economic impact in North America, with cranberry sales of $89.6 million in Canada in 2014. However, there is growing concern about elevated levels of pesticides and nutrients downstream from cranberry farms and the associated risks to water quality and aquatic life. The present study will identify potential environmental impacts and develop best management practices (BMPs) for the growing cranberry industry in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). Bi-weekly upstream, on-farm, and downstream water sampling was conducted at 6 farms in NL from June to November of 2011 and 2012. Water quality testing assessed levels of 69 pesticides and 11 additional parameters. Nine soil samples were analyzed for 122 pesticides and 4 additional parameters. Probability, linear and exponential regression, and correlational analyses were carried out to assess data. ANOVA and Tukey tests were run to determine significance between sites, and descriptive statistics were evaluated. The only significant difference between upstream and downstream sites over all farms was a decrease downstream compared to upstream for pH. The most frequently detected pesticide was diazinon, with 15 detections at both upstream and downstream sites. The only other pesticide detection downstream aside from 3 instances of trace amounts of historical use pesticides was a single detection of carbaryl. None of the nine soil samples taken at the downstream locations contained any detectable levels of pesticides. The lack of significant differences in water samples between downstream and upstream sites for pesticides and nutrients, as well as no detected pesticides in soil samples, suggests current on-farm practices in the studied farms have been fairly effective in mitigating risk to downstream surface water and soil in NL during the sampling period. However, the frequent detection of diazinon off the farm shows there may be room for improving management practices for cranberry farming in the province. An in depth analysis of BMPs at Deadman’s Bay cranberry farm found that many of the fifteen key BMPs introduced in the present study were already implemented at the farm, but that there was a need to adopt or modify some other BMPs or their combinations. Implementing the recommended BMPs at sites throughout NL will enable the provincial cranberry industry to minimize economic costs and environmental impacts.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/13036
Item ID: 13036
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 120-132).
Keywords: impacts, cranberry, mitigation, Newfoundland and Labrador, water
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Environmental Science
Date: November 2017
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Cranberry industry -- Environmental aspects -- Newfoundland and Labrador; Agricultural chemicals -- Environmental aspects -- Newfoundland and Labrador

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