About the LEAP Project

About LEAP

LEAP aims to develop a unified framework that explicitly incorporates agricultural nutrient legacies and time lags into adaptive management strategies to protect water resources under changing climate and land use. The research will integrate the following three components:

  • Biophysical: LEAP will fill key knowledge gaps and develop watershed-scale nutrient modelling tools necessary to determining impacts of historical land-use patterns on current nutrient loading to surface and groundwater.

  • Economic: LEAP will account for trade-offs between initial costs of BMP implementation and delayed benefits of water quality improvements by evaluating appropriate discounting methods.

  • Policy: by quantifying nutrient legacies and associated lag times, LEAP will help select appropriate (site-specific) BMPs and establish nutrient reduction goals within realistic time frames.

The specific objectives of LEAP are to:

  • Identify key controls on the accumulation and mobilization of agricultural N and P legacies, and predict time lags between implementation of BMPs and water quality improvements, as a function of climate, land cover, land use, and land management.
  • Assess the outcomes of alternative management strategies by performing cost-benefit analyses within a hydroeconomic modelling framework that explicitly represents nutrient legacies.
  • Develop a Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) framework to evaluate uncertainties in both biophysical and hydroeconomic modelling of nutrient legacies, and their implications for nutrient risk management.
  • Create an agroecosystem typology – based on the individual EU and Canadian exemplar sites– that links the biophysical and socioeconomic drivers of NPS pollution to water quality impacts.
  • Inform adaptive agro-environmental water management practices that target mitigation of water quality impacts of N and P legacies by assessing trade-offs between short and long-term costs, benefits and risks.