Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Integrated Science and Technology


Thomas R. Benzing


The South Fork Shenandoah River is a tributary to the Chesapeake Bay that is a significant contributor to nitrogen and phosphorus that enter the Bay and leads to increased eutrophication. These nutrients also cause problems in the South Fork Shenandoah River. The United States Environmental Protection agency has implemented strict regulation to reduce nutrients entering the Bay by developing the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. While the TMDL has strict regulation on wastewater treatment, agriculture, and industry, there are still sources of nutrients entering the Bay through unregulated sources. Urban/suburban runoff is one of these sources, particularly runoff from home owner’s lawns. This research investigated the consumer horticulture and runoff management practices and knowledge of individuals living in the South Fork Shenandoah River watershed. This was done to gain an understanding of the rates of sustainable practices and knowledge in the South Fork Shenandoah River watershed as well as provide a basis for educating people about consumer horticulture and runoff management Best Management Practices (BMPs) in the watershed. Research was conducted by surveying the faculty and staff at James Madison University through the implementation of an online questionnaire.

The questionnaire found that large numbers of people were not actively using many of the BMPs for the purpose of nutrient management. Nearly half did not think about their lawn from a conservation perspective and didn’t use any consumer horticulture BMPs identified in the survey. There were also low rates of runoff management BMP use as only one of the practices identified was used by a significant number of people. These numbers could be linked to the lack of sustainability knowledge demonstrated by the respondents. These results show that while the residence of the South Fork Shenandoah are not using sustainable nutrient management practices. There is potential to increase sustainability through educational programs that discuss the concerns associated with nutrient management and offers education on BMP use.



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