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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Preserving Groundwater Quality and Availability for Agriculture

Location: Watershed Physical Processes Research Unit

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Reduce reliance on groundwater and maintain the quality of groundwater and surface water sources for agricultural uses through improved water management in agricultural systems.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
USDA-ARS and Arkansas State University (ASU) are both interested in the preservation and enhancement of water resources in both the Arkansas Delta and the Grand Prairie. While water availability (both surface and groundwater) is reasonable to the east of Crowley’s Ridge, water quality is an issue. To the west of Crowley’s Ridge, both water availability (particularly groundwater) and water quality are serious concerns. Plant-based agriculture in Arkansas (primarily located in the eastern half of the state) is dependent on irrigation and Arkansas ranks 4th in the U.S. in irrigated acreage. Thus, the sustainability of agriculture and water resources in Arkansas are very closely linked. Ways must be found to increase the efficiency of water use while also improving the quality of the water resources in the state.

In addition to development of modeling resources, both groups will work to support the broad dissemination of modeling techniques via known scientific research channels such as TerraGrid. This will provide others with experience gained by researching groundwater issues in the Mississippi Delta.


3.Progress Report:

This agreement specifically describes the following deliverables by Arkansas State University (ASU) with respect to the overall project:

A full time student employee was recruited with the help of the Arkansas State University's Computer Science Department to assist with the programming needs related to the RUSLE2 program. The student hired transitioned successfully into the software support role. ARS was able to provide additional funding for the development of the RUSLE project resulting in making available both salary and travel funding of this project. Field water monitoring equipment was purchased to be used on this project. This project's SY also served as a mentor for several students interested in this research. In support of these efforts, ASU funded a graduate student to aid in this research as part of the Specific Cooperative Agreement (SCA). Funding was also provided to pay for support of a Software Engineer to work jointly on ARS and ASU projects related to preserving ground water quality. ARS and ASU decided that they would share the cost of funding a software engineer who would work 1/2 time for ASU and 1/2 time for ARS. The student who was hire as the software support person was hired in this new position making his position with ARS vacant. ARS is in the process of trying to fill this vacant position.

It is noted that there was a change in personnel at ASU on March 15th that required reassignment of the Program Director role for this Specific Cooperative Agreement (SCA).


Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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