Scientists Meet to Tackle Gully Erosion
Issue By Luis
April 28, 2004
OXFORD, Miss., Apr. 28--Scientists from around the world
will focus on one of the great threats to agricultural watersheds when the
Third International Symposium on Gully Erosion begins here today.
The symposium is hosted jointly by the National Sedimentation
Laboratory (NSL) operated by
USDA's Agricultural Research Service,
and the University of Mississippi, both
in Oxford. It will run through Saturday and expand upon the topics and themes
of previous conferences in Belgium in 2000 and China in 2002. General
objectives of this week's meeting will include improved understanding of
fundamental processes and mechanisms of gully erosion; improved prediction
methods; and development of techniques, technologies and strategies to control
and prevent the problem.
Gully erosion is caused by runoff water that produces deep cuts
in land. "It is the most visible, but least attended to, form of soil erosion,"
said NSL Director Matt J.M. Römkens. "Gullies affect land use, land
accessibility, soil productivity, farming, roads and the stream system, among
many other things."
Gully erosion produces more sediment than any other erosion
mode, Römkens added. "It has received comparatively less attention than
rainfall or overland flow-induced erosion due to the complicated nature and
scale of the processes involved."
The symposium is being held in the E.F. Yerby Conference Center
auditorium on the University of Mississippi campus. Keynote speakers include
Jean Poesen, professor of geomorphology at
Experimental Geomorphology in Louvain, Belgium; Li Rui, director of the
Institute of Soil and Water Conservation of the
Chinese Academy of
Sciences and Ministry of Water Resources in Shaanxi Province, People's
Republic of China; C. Ted Yang, professor of water resources and director of
the Hydroscience and Training Center at Colorado State University at Fort
Collins; and former NSL director George R. Foster.
The National Sedimentation Laboratory emphasizes
interdisciplinary research dealing with the processes of soil erosion,
transport and deposition of sediment, movement of chemicals on upland areas and
in streams, and the impact of agricultural practices. Its research also
encompasses studies on in-stream structures, bank protection, water quality and
the ecological well-being of streams.
ARS is the USDA's chief
scientific research agency.