Lake Tenkiller located in Oklahoma, USA is a large midcontinent reservoir in a eutrophic state due to excess phosphorus (P) loads. Poultry waste application within the Illinois River Watershed in northeast Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas has been identified as a major contributor to overall P loads within Lake Tenkiller. In this study, Groundwater Loading Effects of Agricultural Management Systems (GLEAMS) was applied to evaluate the effect of poultry waste application on P loads to Lake Tenkiller. Historical P loads to Lake Tenkiller during 1951–2000 have increased from approximately 166,000 kg/year to more than 295,000 kg/year with the Illinois River at Tahlequah subwatershed increasing from 68% to 78% of total P loads over that period. Increased poultry waste application based on poultry growth rates could increase P load to Lake Tenkiller from 311,000 kg/year to more than 528,000 kg/year. Cessation of poultry waste application and addition of buffers along streams could reduce P loads to approximately 92,000 kg/year for cessation of poultry waste application alone and about 89,000 kg/year for cessation of poultry waste application with buffers. One possible strategy to reduce P load to Lake Tenkiller is to cease applying poultry waste application, especially in the portion of the Illinois River above the Tahlequah USGS gage station.
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