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Solutions for Nonpoint Pollution in the Boise River

Nonpoint solutions poster
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Matthew Date, Cassidy Eby, Emily McClintock
Environmental Studies Program, Boise State University


The Boise river is currently suffering from nutrient loading from both nonpoint and point sources. However, the nonpoint sources are
the most concerning due to the lack of regulation. Currently, there are many options to reduce the nutrient levels in the Boise River to
reach the goals of the 2004 TMDL. This project examines the Dixie Drain and the potential for effluent trading but focuses on the
importance of agricultural best management practices (BMPs)


Our research focused on Best Management
Practices that would be viable for the type of
agriculture prominent in the Lower Boise River
water district.


  1. Diversion
  2. Glenwood
  3. Eagle Drain
  4. Thurman Drain
  5. Middleton
  6. Fifteen Mile
  7. Five Mile
  8. Mill Slough
  9. Willow Creek
  10. Mason Slough
  11. Mason Creek
  12. W. Hartley
  13. E. Hartley
  14.  Indian Creek
  15. Conway Gulch
  16. Dixie
  17. Parma

Potential BMP Solutions

Drip Irrigation

  • Cost per acre: $500-$1,200.
  • Mitigation potential: Irrigation is 90% efficient, with 10% loss that may contribute to leaching.
  • Limitations: Replacement costs.

Soil Sensors

  • Cost: $50 per sensor plus $1,000-$5,000 for software and monitoring.
  • Mitigation potential: May cut as much as 100% of anthropogenic leaching and sedimentation.
  • Limitations: Costly and technical literacy is required.

Filter Strips

  • Cost: $600 per acre.
  • Mitigation potential: Stops siltation, while reducing nutrients and pesticides.
  • Limitations: Loss of acreage.


While the costs of implementing BMPs outweigh the benefits for the farmers that would have to make the changes, there is anecdotal evidence that agricultural BMPs are the cheapest, most efficient means of improving water quality in the lower Boise River.

Solutions in the Works

Dixie Drain
Water Quality Trading

  • TMDL will be set by the close of 2014