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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Sediment Retention and Water Quality Enhancement in Disturbed Watersheds

Authors
item Cooper, Charles
item Shields Jr, Fletcher
item Testa, Sam
item Knight, Scott

Submitted to: International Journal of Sediment Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 1999
Publication Date: June 1, 2000

Interpretive Summary: Expanding population pressures present farmers with an ever-increasing challenge to produce food and fiber while conserving precious natural resources soil and water. Agriculture has a strong commitment to soil conservation and water quality integrity. Since agriculture composes a large portion of the landscape, it is also concerned with habitaat for fish and wildlife that compose a vital part of the earth's ecosphere. The American farmer continually needs updated means of fulfilling that commitment while maintaining an economically viable business. This paper represents a holistic approach to using field and stream corridor practices that benefit agriculture and the environment. This paper is specifically written for a transfer of information between U.S. scientists and Chinese scientists and engineers who share common goals of soil and water conservation. Additionally, it will be used by federal and state natural resources and conservation personnel who face the daily challenge of recommending conservation approaches that provide multiple benefits at maximum cost efficiency.

Technical Abstract: Globally, water quality and quantity issues are alarming. Water quality problems generally result from past and present large-scale land uses. Continuing deterioration of water quality and use/reuse issues place the responsibility on agriculture for water quality improvement. Research on agricultural management practices in the United States shows that production agriculture can use measures that improve water quality. Instream suspended sediments and bedload are, by volume, the largest category of pollutant; sediments also carry many compounds that adhere to them in transport. Thus, reducing sediments must play a major role in improving water quality. Innovative management practices can reduce sediments and nutrients by 70 percent or more. If broadly applied, agricultural management and stream stabilization practices can significantly reduce non-point source contamination and have the extra benefit of improving terrestrial and aquatic habitat.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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