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Water quality in the central Columbia Plateau, Washington and Idaho, 1992-95

February 1, 2000

Water quality in the Central Columbia Plateau of eastern Washington and western Idaho has been adversely affected by agriculture, especially in irrigated areas, according to the results of a five-year investigation by the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS). Some improvements, however, are noticeable, such as less sediment being washed into streams. These improvements may be the result of increased use of best management practices (BMPs) by area farmers. Areas with intensive fertilizer use and irrigation, such as in the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project (CBIP), showed the greatest impacts on ground-water quality. (The CBIP includes parts of Franklin, Grant, and Adams counties in eastern Washington.)

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