2005 Annual Report
1.What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it (summarize project aims and objectives)? How serious is the problem? What does it matter?
Excessive amounts of agricultural chemicals, i.e., pesticides and nutrients,
in water is a major enviromental and human health concern. There is a
substantial body of knowledge available on the types of best management
practices (BMPs) that can be used to reduce runoff of chemicals from
agricultural lands. Research in the laboratory and under controlled test
plot conditions has demonstrated that these BMPs can protect water quality.
Unfortunately, whether these small-scale laboratory and test plot results
can be translated to actual production circumstances at the watershed level is
uncertain. Additionally, the effectiveness of cooperative, community-based
efforts to work with local landowners and users to voluntarily adopt BMPs
that conserve and enhance natural resources needs to be documented. In this
research, we will monitor and quantify the impact of widespread adoption of
BMPs in agricultural watersheds on chemical loading in surface runoff. The
research will be conducted at the St Joseph River Watershed at northeast Indiana
that is the domestic water source for the City of Fort Wayne.
In the U.S., surface water such as lakes, reservoirs and rivers, serves
as the source of drinking water for approximately 11,000 community water
supply systems serving over 160 million customers. These domestic water
supply systems rely heavily on treatment technologies to purify the water
and make it suitable for drinking. At the same time, more
and more water supply systems around the country are adopting watershed
programs and initiatives designed to prevent pollutants from entering
surface water, thereby, reducing treatment costs and improving
water quality in general. A systematic effort to quantify
the effects of different agricultural BMPs in a watershed setting will
facilitate the selection and adoption of effective cropping and management
practices with maximum environmental benefits.
This report serves to document research conducted under a specific cooperative
agreement between ARS and St. Joseph River Watershed Initiative (SJRWI) to
implement the Source Water Protection Initiative (SWPI) and Conservation Effect Assessment (CEAP) at northeast Indiana. Additional details of research can be found in the report for 3602-12220-005-00D - Soil Erosion and Water Quality Management.
In 2005, the SJRWI continued to provide the local support to maintain the water quality sampling equipment at nine sub-watersheds and preserved the samples for subsequent laboratory analyses at the National Soil Erosion Research Lab. SJRWI assisted the installation of three new monitoring sites: two surface depression sites at the Hammon Farm where blind inlet and vertical riser surface drains were installed and one site at the Cedar Creek. The SJRWI contacted local power company to provide line power to new Cedar Creek site. SJRWI also collected farm/field cropping and management data in the monitored sub-watersheds for water quality and economic assessment.