Over the past three decades there have been increased efforts toward reduction in nutrient and sediment loss from agricultural lands. This is due mainly to the fact that since passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, point sources of pollution have accounted for progressively smaller
portions of water quality problems in the nation. Agriculture now remains a key source of nonpoint source pollutants, chiefly sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus loads to downstream waters. To address water quality issues related to livestock agriculture, a multidisciplinary project titled “Livestock
and the Environment: National Pilot Project” (NPP) was initiated by the Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research (TIAER) in 1992. An important part of the NPP was the development of the Comprehensive Economic and Environmental Optimization Tool (CEEOT), an integrated modeling
system designed to produce economic and environmental indicators for alternative policy scenarios applied to intensive agricultural production watersheds. The CEEOT system currently consists of a farm-level economic model (FEM) and two environmental models: the field-scale Agricultural Policy/Environmental
eXtender (APEX) model and the watershed-level Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model. The CEEOT modeling system has been tested and applied successfully to a number of watersheds within Texas and Iowa to evaluate the water quality and economic impacts of various best management practices
(BMPs). In this paper, the main components of CEEOT will be presented. Then, the application of CEEOT for evaluating BMPs will be illustrated with several practices that were evaluated for the Upper Maquoketa River Watershed, located in northeast of Iowa.
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