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Groundwater plays an active role in the natural Nitrogen cycle by being a means of transportation of the various dissolved N-bearing molecules, and a medium of chemical and biogeochmical transformation of the nitrogen compounds. In many areas of PEI, nitrates in groundwater are significantly exceeding the natural background. It has been assumed that mineral fertilization for potato cropping constitutes the dominant source of these nitrates. The present understanding of the Nitrogen cycle in PEI is that nitrates in excess due to agricultural production travels with the groundwater to the private wells and the main rivers, with little natural attenuation because the oxygen level in the aquifer does not favour bacterial nitrate reduction. The main intent is to provide the required scientific support to the managers and scientists of the PEI Ministry of the Fisheries, Aquaculture and Environment on the natural cycle of Nitrogen in the Wilmot River Watershed which is representative of the provincial context in terms of water flow system and land management.
The PEI-Nitrogen-Cycle project is a federal-provincial scientific project aiming at characterizing the groundwater in the Wilmot River area. This is an important initiative as residents of the Wilmot River Watershed depend on a safe groundwater supply for their drinking water. This project will lead to a better understanding of the aquifer characteristics.
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