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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Conservation Effects Assessment Project Croplands Watersheds Studies - Gulf Coast & Western Watersheds (2012)

Location: Water Quality and Ecology Research

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Problems to be addressed through this agreement include the following four areas: 1. Improving our understanding of the aggregate effects of conservation practices at the watershed scale; 2. Improving our ability to select and place conservation practices on the landscape for maximum effectiveness; 3. Improving conservation practices to better protect water resources; and 4. Maintaining the effectiveness of conservation practices under changing climate and land use.

Statement of Work/Deliverables for Water Quality and Ecology, Oxford, MS.: 1. Participate on organizing committee for CEAP symposium at annual SWCS meeting. 2. Attend national CEAP leader coordination meeting and scientists to present Beasley CEAP research at annual SWCS meeting. 3. Represent Beasley CEAP research at state and regional meetings. 4. Provide overall annual report on project progress. 5. Biweekly Beasley Lake sampling and analyses (4 sites within lake plus lake outlet, grab samples with exception of one site where samples are collected at several depths [every 0.5 m]). 6. Electro-fish sampling in Beasley Lake. 7. Sampling and analyses of edge-of-field runoff events at 11 sites. 8. Biweekly sediment basin sediment sampling and analyses. 9. Lake and sediment basin sediment and aqueous toxicity tests. 10. Soil sampling and analyses in 2012 as a four-year follow-up to the 2008 CEAP soil quality sampling (complete soil characterization 250 samples, including at least 16 separate physical, chemical, and biological components). 11. Compile land management practices. 12. Continue populating STEWARDS with Beasley data. 13. Lake sediment core sampling for assessment of sedimentation rates using Cesium-137. 14. Conduct an aerial satellite 8-band multi-spectral scan of Beasley Lake Watershed. 15. Conduct assessments of terrestrial insects in buffer and crop areas. 16. Modeling to develop riparian and wetland components with Ann AGNPS. 17. Conduct plant succession assessments in buffer areas.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Improving our understanding of the aggregate effects of conservation practices at the watershed scale: 1. Field studies to develop remote sensing tools to better evaluate cover crop performance (CB/ACP). 2. Develop models/decision support tools to assess the effectiveness of cover crops (CB/ACP) and other BMP’s (All) at the watershed scale. 3. Enhance the landscape version of SWAT to better represent field-to-basin scale processes (All). Improving our ability to select and place conservation practices on the landscape for maximum effectiveness: 1. Develop mapping techniques for placing specific practices within watersheds based on terrain and soils data. 2. Develop methods of terrain analysis for improved mapping of soil wetness in glacial terrain. 3. Validate the CEAP National Assessment conducted with SWAT at multiple scales. 4. Assess and compare the trade-offs of no-till adoption, and support the development of nutrient management recommendations for water quality protection, at the watershed scale. Improving conservation practices to better protect water resources: 1. Quantify nutrient management effects on water quality at field and watershed scales. 2. Watershed scale studies to systematically validate phosphorus site assessment tools in support of NRCS 590 (nutrient management) standard. 3. Watershed scale assessment of combined conservation practices. Maintaining the effectiveness of conservation practices under changing climate and land use: 1. Use reservoir sedimentation, land use change, and climate information to anticipate future reservoir sedimentation and needs for additional conservation under changing climate. 2. Enhance SWAT model routines for urban landscape BMPs. 3. Apply erosion (WEPP, etc.) and water quality (WEPP-WQ, etc.) models to catchments ranging from field- to farm-size and watershed scale, to assess the impacts of current and alternative land management systems and conservation practices under current and future climates.


3.Progress Report:

Progress continues in assembling a comprehensive data set to describe Beasley Lake watershed, including soils, cropping patterns, cultural practices, topography, climate, water quality, and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR). These data are added to the Sustaining the Earth’s Watersheds: Agricultural Research Data System (STEWARDS) data base. Monitoring of lake water quality and fish populations and evaluation of runoff from Conservation Reserve Program and buffer areas continues. Collaborative efforts were maintained through routine site visits, email, and telephone communications with collaborators, and with participation at Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) leaders meeting.


Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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