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Educate >Run-off, Manure & You> Glossary Terms

Below are a list of terms I collected during this project

Key Terms:

Manure: Is organic matter used as fertilizer in agriculture.  Manures contribute to the fertility of the soil by adding organic matter and nutrients, such as nitrogen that is trapped by bacteria in the soil.  Higher organisms then feed on the fungi and bacteria in a chain of life.

Green Manure: Crops grown for the express purpose of plowing them under.  In so doing, fertility is increased through the nutrients and organic matter that are returned to the soil.

Animal Manure: Feces/excrement of plant-eating mammals and poultry or plant material (often straw) which has been used as bedding for animals and thus is heavily contaminated with their feces and urine.

Nitrates: In inorganic chemistry, a nitrate is a salt of nitric acid with an ion composed of one nitrogen and three oxygen atoms.  In organic chemistry the esters of nitric acid and various alcohols are called nitrates.

Esters: A class of chemical compounds and functional groups.

Surface run-off: Is a term used to describe the flow of water, from rain, snowmelt, or other sources, over land and is a major component of the water cycle.

Sediment: Is any particulate matter that can be transported by fluid flow and which eventually is deposited as a layer of solid particles on the bed or bottom of a body of water or other liquid.

Pesticide: A chemical substance, biological agent (such as a virus or bacteria), antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest.

Thermal pollution: Is a temperature change in natural water bodies caused by human influence.

Evapotranspiration: Is a term used to describe the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the earth’s land surface to atmosphere.

Fertilizer: Are compounds given to plants to promote growth; they are usually applied either through soil, for uptake by plant roots, or by foliar feeding, for uptake through leaves.

Foliar feeding: Is a technique of feeding plants by applying liquid fertilizer directly to their leaves.

Erosion: Is displacement of solids (sediment, soil, rock and other particles) usually by the agents of currents such as, wind, water, or ice by downward or down-slope movement in response to gravity or by living organisms.

Sedimentation: Describes the motion of molecules in solutions or particles in suspensions in response to an external force such as gravity, centrifugal force or electric force.

NPS pollution: Nonpoint source pollution is water pollution affecting a water body diffuse sources, rather than a point source which discharges to a water body at a single location.

Septic system: Small-scale sewage treatment system common in areas with no connection to main sewerage pipes provided by private corporations or local governments.

Phosphorus: Is a chemical element, which most important commercial use is for production of fertilizers.

Potassium: Is a chemical element, which is a soft silvery-white metallic alkali metal that occurs naturally bound to other elements in seawater and many minerals.

Buffer strip: A strip of unfertilized grasses or natural vegetation near any water body.  It helps against erosion and produces a trap for unwanted nutrients.

Dead zones: An area of water where no fish or typical sea life can survive.

Feedlot: Or feedyard is a type of Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) (also known as “factory farming”) which is used for finishing livestock, notably beef cattle, prior to slaughter.


This site was created by Stephen Koeberle (email) who is a student at Millersville University of Pennsylvania

Last updated on February 10, 2008

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