Grower-Assisted Research is a
August 22, 2000
Good farming practices are proving to be successful in reducing soil
sedimentation at Deep Hollow Lake located in the Mississippi Delta region,
according to Agricultural Research
Service scientists working to improve water quality there.
Deep Hollow, along with Thighman and Beasley lakes, is part of a living
laboratory experiment--the Mississippi Delta Management Systems Evaluations
Area (MSEA) project.
The Delta MSEA comprises about 7,320 acres of farm land surrounding the three
lakes. The project was set up to evaluate how changing farm practices can help
improve the water quality of these lakes.
In this, the sixth year of the project, scientists are finding that algal
populations have shifted from those that impair water quality to those that are
not harmful. This shift is occurring around Deep Hollow Lake because of
conservation practices, such as planting winter cover crops, reducing tillage,
and planting vegetative filter strips. These practices minimize soil movement
and restrict herbicide runoff into the lake.
ARS researchers say the improvement in water quality indicates that
conservation practices reduced sediment movement into Deep Hollow. By contrast,
farmers havent implemented these conservation practices around Thighman
and Beasley lakes, so sediment hasnt been reduced in these lakes.
During the next phase of the MSEA project, the scientists will look at how
farmers management practices affect total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) of
pollutants. The new TMDLs, proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency, are stricter
water quality rules for sediment runoff and non-point source pollution that are
part of the Clean
Water Act of 1972. ARS researchers will investigate cost-effective measures
to help farmers put into play new conservation practices to meet these proposed
ARS is the chief research agency of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.
Scientific contact: Robert M. Zablotowicz,
Weed Science Research Unit, Stoneville, Miss.; phone (662) 686-5260, fax
(662) 686-5422, firstname.lastname@example.org.