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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 Mar 11;11(3):2992-3014. doi: 10.3390/ijerph110302992.

Comparing the selection and placement of best management practices in improving water quality using a multiobjective optimization and targeting method.

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  • 1Department of Civil and Disaster Prevention Engineering, National United University, Miaoli 36003, Taiwan.
  • 2Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University, 550 Stadium Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.
  • 3Risk Modeling Unit, Zurich Financial Services Ltd., Mythenquai 2, Zurich 8002, Switzerland.
  • 4Department of Civil and Disaster Prevention Engineering, National United University, Miaoli 36003, Taiwan.


Suites of Best Management Practices (BMPs) are usually selected to be economically and environmentally efficient in reducing nonpoint source (NPS) pollutants from agricultural areas in a watershed. The objective of this research was to compare the selection and placement of BMPs in a pasture-dominated watershed using multiobjective optimization and targeting methods. Two objective functions were used in the optimization process, which minimize pollutant losses and the BMP placement areas. The optimization tool was an integration of a multi-objective genetic algorithm (GA) and a watershed model (Soil and Water Assessment Tool-SWAT). For the targeting method, an optimum BMP option was implemented in critical areas in the watershed that contribute the greatest pollutant losses. A total of 171 BMP combinations, which consist of grazing management, vegetated filter strips (VFS), and poultry litter applications were considered. The results showed that the optimization is less effective when vegetated filter strips (VFS) are not considered, and it requires much longer computation times than the targeting method to search for optimum BMPs. Although the targeting method is effective in selecting and placing an optimum BMP, larger areas are needed for BMP implementation to achieve the same pollutant reductions as the optimization method.

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