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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: PRESERVING WATER QUALITY AND AVAILABILITY FOR AGRICULTURE IN THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI RIVER BASIN

Location: Watershed Physical Processes Research Unit

Title: A statewide network for monitoring agricultural water quality and water quantity in Arkansas

Authors
item Reba, Michele
item Daniels, Mike -
item Chen, Yushun -
item Sharpley, Andrew -
item Bouldin, Jennifer -
item Teague, Tina -
item Daniel, Pearl -
item Henry, Chris -

Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 5, 2012
Publication Date: March 1, 2013
Citation: Reba, M.L., Daniels, M., Chen, Y., Sharpley, A., Bouldin, J., Teague, T.G., Daniel, P., Henry, C.G. 2013. A statewide network for monitoring agricultural water quality and water quantity in Arkansas. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 68(2):45A-49A.

Interpretive Summary: To sustain agricultural production of food, fiber, feed and fuel for the world population agriculture requires water and nutrient inputs, which can impair water resources by decreasing water quality and availability. Both are concerns in the agricultural region of the Lower Mississippi River Basin (LMRB) and specifically in the state of Arkansas, where production of rice, cotton, soybean and poultry are critical to the state’s economy. Water quality issues are related to excess nutrients running off of fields that subsequently influence local and regional water bodies. Water quantity issues are related to declines in groundwater caused by withdrawal rates that are greater than recharge rates. Conservation practices targeted at improving water resources and promoted through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) are supported by USDA-NRCS and include a component dedicated to monitoring the water resources impact of these practices. A statewide monitoring network designed to collect water quality and water quantity data was established in 2010 in Arkansas. The network is made up of approximately 30 monitoring sites, on 12 separate farms where rice, soybean, cotton, corn, poultry and beef are produced. Partners in the creation of this network include Arkansas State University, University of Arkansas, University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff, USDA-ARS, USDA-NRCS, Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts and agricultural producers representing the major commodities of the state of Arkansas. Partners in the creation of this network include Arkansas State University, University of Arkansas, University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff, USDA-ARS, USDA-NRCS, Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts and agricultural producers representing the major commodities of the state of Arkansas.

Technical Abstract: Arkansas produces the most rice, 3rd most cotton and 2nd most broilers of any state in the US. By 2050, agriculture will be asked to produce twice as much food, feed, and fiber for the projected world population, while challenged with reduced water availability from groundwater decline and increased pumping costs. Associated in part with agriculture, excess nutrients influence local and regional water quality, such as Chesapeake Bay eutrophication and Gulf of Mexico hypoxia. In response to these water resources issues, a network of agricultural edge-of-field monitoring sites was established in 2010 in Arkansas. The network was established in an effort to understand how management impacts water quality and water quantity. The objective of the network is to collect scientifically sound data at field scales under typical and conservation management practices for the region. These management practices in the network includes but is not limited to nutrient management, cover crops, conservation tillage, grassed waterways, riparian buffer, water management including irrigation planning, surface water storage, shallow water development for waterfowl use, water and control structures. Water inputs and outputs are quantified, and water quality including sediment, nitrogen (nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, and total) and phosphorus (soluble, particulate, and total) are analyzed. Partners in the creation of this network include Arkansas State University, University of Arkansas, University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff, USDA-ARS, USDA-NRCS, Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts and agricultural producers representing the major commodities of the state of Arkansas. The statewide network is described.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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