story to find out more.
Daniel Wren makes adjustments to the floating instrument platform used in
Goodwin Creek Experimental Watershed near Batesville, Mississippi. The platform
is used for data collection and development of acoustic technology for field
measurement of sediment transport. Click the image for more information
"Sound" Technology Used in Sediment
Research By Luis
Pons August 22, 2006
You've heard the expression "putting your ear to the ground." But,
putting your ear to the water? That's what technology is helping Agricultural
Research Service (ARS) scientists in
Oxford, Miss., do.
Wren of the ARS National Sedimentation Laboratory (NSL)
and collaborators are using acoustics and automated sampling to assess how
sediment impacts waterways and dams.
They're applying acoustic science to measuring the rate at which sand
and gravel are transported in streams. The resulting data can give insight
about upstream erosion andwith help from computer modelingfortify
predictions about sediment's impacts on water bodies and related
This research is part of work by scientists in Oxford and at other ARS
locations that's aimed at helping agriculture and waterways coexist in a
cost-effective, environmentally friendly fashion. At NSL, one research area
focuses on how erosion, soil runoff, and urban and industrial activities affect
As part of this work, Wren and other collaborators are improving use
of a core-drilling technique, called "vibracoring," for gauging sediment's
impact on aging reservoirs. They're particularly interested in how vibracoring
helps detect rates and patterns of sediment collection that affect reservoirs'
Meanwhile, data collected from the Mississippi Delta region's
waterways is helping NSL scientists improve computer programs and models used
to evaluate how different management practices can affect entire
Bingner is working with water-quality-prediction technology known as
AnnAGNPS (for Annualized Agricultural Nonpoint Source) to simulate
environmental processes and evaluate their impact on downstream and adjacent
watershed elements. And hydraulic engineer
Langendoen is using field studies and a computer modeling technique he
created called "CONCEPTS" (for Conservational Channel Evolution and Pollutant
Transport System) to assess the stability of specific channel reaches.
about this research and other ARS projects related to a healthy environment in
the August 2006 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.