CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT PRACTICES TO IMPROVE WATER QUALITY IN THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA
Water Quality and Ecology Research
2010 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this cooperative research project is to evaluate best management practices consistent with the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) that will reduce or mitigate detrimental effects of sedimentation and runoff on water quality and provide data that can be applied to TMDL standards.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Runoff plots are established at the Delta Branch Experiment Station to quantify the contribution of various BMPs toward reducing sedimentation and runoff in continuous cotton. These plots are approximately 170 m in length and are instrumented with flow meters and samplers to measure runoff volume, sediment load, and chemical loss under natural rainfall conditions. Composite runoff samples are taken at each runoff event. BMPs include no-tillage, rye cover crop, grass hedges, and grass filter strips. Crop yield and management inputs are quantified to obtain an economic analysis of the production system.
Cooperative research between ARS (Oxford and Stoneville) and Mississippi Agricultural & Forestry Experiment Station (MAFES) continues with sampling and analysis of runoff from a conservation management project. Samples were collected at every rainfall event resulting in runoff, and samples were analyzed for sediment, nutrient and herbicide loss. Also, soil samples are collected periodically to evaluate pesticide dissipation in soil and to characterize changes in soil due to management practice. The project site generated outside interest, resulting in a tour by scientists from industry and other universities. Communication and coordination with project scientists occur via telephone and email and through Water Quality & Ecology Research Unit support personnel located at Stoneville.