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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Hydrology Lab 'Happenings'


 Upcoming Events


 Awards and Recognition

2009 Administrator's Outreach, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity Award for the Non-Supervisory/Non-Managerial category

;photo of Paul Doraiswamy
Dr. Ali Sadeghi of the Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Animal and Natural Resources Institute, had been selected to receive the 2009 Administrator's Outreach, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity Award for the Non-Supervisory/Non-Managerial category for the work his service the Beltsville Area Diversity Taskforce in establishing a Best Hiring Practices document which will promote the hiring of a diverse workforce in the Beltsville Area, unleashing the power of diversity to higher levels.

2009 Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Mid-Atlantic Regional Excellence in Technology Transfer Award

 photo of Paul Doraiswamy
Dr. Paul Doraiswamy of the Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Animal and Natural Resources Institute, will receive the 2009 Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Mid-Atlantic Regional Excellence in Technology Transfer Award for the work entitled "Development of an Operational System for Regional Crop Production Assessment." This prestigious award recognizes employees who have accomplished outstanding work in the process of transferring a technology developed by a federal laboratory to the commercial marketplace.

2012 BELTSVILLE AREA PRESTON TISDAL SAFETY AWARD

Ms. Lynn McKee of the Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Animal and Natural Resources Institute, is being recognized for leadership and consistent commitment to safety in both the laboratory and in large scale multi-disiplinary field experiments.

2011 BELTSVILLE AREA SENIOR RESEARCH SCIENTIST

Dr. Craig S. T. Daughtry of the Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Animal and Natural Resources Institute, is being recognized for pioneering research in theory and applications of remote sensing for assessing crops and soils.

2010 BELTSVILLE AREA SUPPORT/SERVICE EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR

Mr. Andrew L. Russ of the Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Animal and Natural Resources Institute, is being recognized for exemplary remote sensing and field support critical for maintaining the high research productivity of the laboratory.

2009 BELTSVILLE AREA TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AWARD

Dr. E. Raymond Hunt of the Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Animal and Natural Resources Institute, is being recognized for development of new sensor technology to enable low-cost remote sensing for agricultural and natural resource management.

2009 BELTSVILLE AREA SUPPORT SCIENTIST OF THE YEAR

Ms. Lynn McKee of the Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Animal and Natural Resources Institute, is being recognized for exemplary support of regional, national and international research that have dramatically increased laboratory productivity and increased our knowledge of how soils and hydrology interact to influence water quantity and quality.

2009 BELTSVILLE AREA SENIOR RESEARCH SCIENTIST

Dr. William Kustas of the Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Animal and Natural Resources Institute, is being recognized for pioneering research in the theory and application of remote sensing and soil-plant-atmosphere modeling to hydrological and agricultural problems.


 Recent Events

Soil Moisture Active Passive Validation Experiment 2008 (SMAPVEX08)

A series of aircraft-based flights of the Passive Active L-Band System (PALS) is proposed for the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. in the late summer-early fall of 2008. The objective is to collect data to resolve algorithm issues for SMAP, which will be described in a later section. This will be the first SMAP Validation Experiment (SMAPVEX). The experiments will leverage off the scheduled High Wind Ocean Salinity Campaign (HWOSC) that will attempt to track a hurricane for several days and record data on high winds using PALS and POLSCAT. It will also test new radio frequency interference (RFI) equipment, which is highly relevant to SMAP. Note that working with this project will reduce some costs associated with field campaigns but it will also introduce a number of constraints on data collection.



 Notable Lab Activities

Evaluating Riparian Buffers' Effectiveness

A specially designed field chamber has proved to be a good tool when used together with a computer model to evaluate how effectively riparian buffers filter out pollutants before they can reach streams or other bodies of water.

That is the finding from a series of systematic studies of a riparian grass buffer zone by scientists at the Agricultural Research Service's (ARS) Henry A. Wallace Beltsville (Md.) Agricultural Research Center (BARC).

After success with a prototype chamber in the laboratory, BARC soil scientists Jim StarrAli Sadeghi and Yakov Pachepsky installed a field version of the chamber in a tall fescue grass buffer near a forested stream and wetland area. The chamber has no top or bottom and encases the four sides of a 3-by-3-foot block of soil down to 4 feet.

The scientists injected water with dissolved nitrate into one side of the soil chamber. Then, as water flowed horizontally and out the other side, they monitored rates of lateral water flow and loss of nitrate due to its breakdown by soil microbes.

Riparian buffers are wooded or grassy streambanks or wetlands that filter out pollutants such as nitrate from fertilizer and other chemicals, as well as sediment. The slow movement of nitrate through highly organic riparian areas provides ideal conditions for soil microbes to break down or transform the nitrate into safer compounds.

The scientists used the two-dimensional computer model "HYDRUS-2D" to simulate water flow and transport of chemicals within the riparian zone soil. Overall, the model-chamber combination provided good results.

The experimental chamber is essential for the accurate use of the growing number of computer models being developed to assess the effectiveness of riparian buffers. Once a model gets this information for a particular location, it can predict nitrate loss rates.

A paper on this study will appear in the November-December issue of the Soil Science Society of America Journal.

Click here to view this report online, plus any included photos or other images on-line.



ARS News Articles

ARS Scientists Verify Soil Moisture Data Collected by Satellites
Aug 09, 2013
ARS Scientists Verify Soil Moisture Data Collected by Satellites
Aug 09, 2013
Last Modified: 8/29/2012