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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOURCE WATER QUALITY EFFECTS OF MANAGEMENT PRACTICES AND LAND USE ON POORLY DRAINED LAND

Location: Soil Drainage Research

2007 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The overall multi-location CEAP-WAS project objective is to evaluate and develop cost-effective conservation practices, strategies, and technologies for water management and water quality protection that minimize offsite delivery of sediment, nutrients, and agrichemicals from agricultural, urban, and turf watersheds located in the humid region of the United States. The research at this location is focused on the use of conservation practices and industrial by-products as a means of improving soil and drainage water quality from rural and urban components of the landscape, including turf systems, to minimize its impact on surface public drinking water supplies. This region has unique soil and climate characteristics that make it a highly productive and economically important region. CEAP-WAS objectives in the Upper Big Walnut Creek Watershed include: 1. Measure and quantify the effects of innovative conservation practices, source water protection practices, and land use management on water quality, water quantity, and lotic ecosystems at the field, farm, and watershed scales. 2. Assess and characterize the environmental aspects of urban and golf course turf, including the development and evaluation of management strategies or technologies that utilize industrial by-products to mitigate the potential offsite transport of sediment, nutrients, and pesticides. 3. Develop and apply policy-planning tools to aid selection and placement of conservation practices to optimize profit, water quality, and conservation practice efficiency.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Quantify the influence of conservation practices and land use on the water chemistry and hydrology of agricultural drainage ditches and streams in the Upper Big Walnut Creek watershed using a before-after-control-impact (BACI) paired watershed design. Two pairs of watersheds, one pair characterized as drainage ditches and one pair characterized as streams, have been identified and instrumented with flumes and automated samplers. Discharge and water samples will be collected automatically via Isco equipment. To quantify how much the loading to headwater streams is reduced by watershed scale adoption of nutrient and pesticide management practices, water samples will be collected using both time and flow proportional sampling. The samples will be analyzed for nutrients using colorimetric flow injection analysis and for pesticides using gas chromatography and ELISA. Determine the impact of conservation practices on aquatic communities in lotic ecosystems by measuring and quantifing in-stream habitat (water depth, velocity, wet width, and substrate types), in situ water chemistry measurements (dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, water temperature), and aquatic communities in each site three times a year in the spring, summer, and fall for the duration of the study. Conduct field experiments to determine the influence of herbaceous riparian buffers on the physical habitat and aquatic communities in agricultural drainage ditches. Geomorphology and riparian habitat will be sampled once a year, while in-stream habitat, water chemistry, and aquatic communities will be sampled at least three times a year for two years. Apply a calibrated watershed scale model to aid selection, placement, and extent of best management practices (BMPs). The cost benefit analysis will combine the benefits from a recreational use analysis and additional non-use value estimates of the benefits of water quality improvements with the costs of different types of practices that provide those benefits.


Review Publications
Smiley, P.C., Maul, J.D., Cooper, C.M. 2007. Avian Community Structure Among Restored Riparian Habitats in Northwestern Mississippi. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. 122:149-156.

Smiley, P.C., Dibble, E.D. 2007. Influence of spatial resolution on assessing channelization impacts on fish and macroinvertebrate communities in a warmwater stream in the southeastern United States. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. Available: http://www.springerlink.com/content/e164065033417664/?p=2077e7e75dc94a549c1410823e5d8421&pi=0. 2008 In print 138:17-29.

Baker, B.J., King, K.W., Torbert III, H.A. 2007. Runoff Losses of Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus From Organic Fertilizer Applied to Sod. Transactions of the ASABE. 50:449-454.

King, K.W., Torbert III, H.A. 2007. Nitrate and Ammonium Losses from Surface Applied Organic and Inorganic Fertilizer. Journal of Agricultural Science. 145(3):1-9.

King, K.W., Balogh, J.C., Hughes, K., Harmel, R.D. 2007. Nutrient Load Generated by Storm Event Runoff from a Golf Course Watershed. Journal of Environmental Quality. 36:1021-1030.

Last Modified: 7/31/2014
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