Strategic Mowing and Nutrients in Roadway Stormwater

Nutrients including phosphorus and nitrogen can be carried to streams in stormwater and contribute to water quality issues in some watersheds in Ohio, including harmful algal blooms (HABs). While agricultural runoff is the major source of nutrients in Ohio's watersheds, there may be small amounts of nutrients in stormwater running off of Ohio's roads. Currently, portions of Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT's) right-of-way outside of the clear zone may be mowed only once per year. There are many considerations to determine when that full mow back may occur (i.e., weather, wildlife, aesthetics, ground saturation, workforce schedule, availability, etc.). Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB's) in Ohio are most likely to occur in the spring compared to the fall or winter. This research will help develop potential best management practices associated with mowing at strategic times to reduce the organic material available to be washed away in stormwater and ultimately to reduce nutrient loads during times that harmful algal blooms are most likely. This project's objective will determine if strategic mowing of roadway right-of-way could be an implementable and cost-effective best management practice to reduce the potential for HABs and will quantify the nutrient loading from typical Ohio roads and assess the specific sources of those nutrients. The overall goal of this research is to assess the appropriateness of potential strategic mowing as a best management practice to aid in ODOT's compliance with the nutrient reduction requirements in future the MS4 permit.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $600,093.78
  • Contract Numbers:




  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    Office of Planning, Environment and Realty (HEP)
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Ohio Department of Transportation

    Research Program
    1980 West Broad Street
    Columbus, OH  United States  43223
  • Project Managers:

    Spriggs, Jennifer

  • Performing Organizations:

    The Ohio State University

    2036 Neil Avenue
    Columbus, OH  United States  43210
  • Principal Investigators:

    Winston, Ryan

  • Start Date: 20230830
  • Expected Completion Date: 20260530
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01891721
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Ohio Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 39164, 118080, 136669
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 28 2023 9:46AM