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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Runoff and Pesticide Discharge from Agricultural Watersheds in Ne Indiana

Authors
item Flanagan, Dennis
item Livingston, Stanley
item Huang, Chi Hua
item Pappas, Elizabeth

Submitted to: ASAE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 7, 2003
Publication Date: July 27, 2003
Citation: Flanagan, D.C., Livingston, S.J., Huang, C., Warnemuende, E.A. Runoff and pesticide discharge from agricultural watersheds in NE Indiana. American Society of Agricultural Engineers Annual International Meeting. 2003. Paper No. 03-2006.

Interpretive Summary: Many communities in the United States and throughout the world obtain their supplies of drinking water from surface rivers and lakes. Often, agricultural chemicals that are used to control insects or weeds (pesticides) on farm fields can be found in these drinking water sources, particularly from runoff events that occur soon after pesticide application. This paper reports progress on a research project in northeastern Indiana to monitor pesticide usage, land management, and runoff water quality for a range of watersheds that ultimately contribute water to the St. Joseph River, which is the source of drinking water for more than 200,000 people in the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Over the next several years, the project will be comparing water quality from watersheds that have concentrated efforts to control pesticide losses with best management practices (BMPs) to untreated control watersheds. This research will impact scientists, modelers, field conservation personnel, farmers and others who have an interest in maintaining agricultural production while at the same time protecting runoff water quality. Ultimately, the results from the project should help guide BMP selection to protect our important water resources.

Technical Abstract: This paper presents results of monitoring levels of runoff and pesticides from initial sampling of agricultural watersheds in northeastern Indiana. In 2002, four watersheds were monitored in which land-use is predominately row-crop agriculture of corn and soybeans, and they ranged in size form 480 to 10600 acres. Sampling equipment was installed in early spring and was operational at all sites by June 1. Measurements in 2002 were to establish base flow and pollutant levels. Future plans by local personnel are to implement large numbers of BMPs (Best Management Practices) to control herbicide loss on one of the sets of watersheds; then monitor both control and BMP runoff and water quality. We will ultimately observe and monitor 9 watersheds: control large (3500 acres), control medium (770 acres), control small (7 acres), BMP extra large (10600 acres), BMP large (4800 acres), BMP medium (740 acres), BMP small (6 acres), control-2 large (3400 acres), and control-2 medium (920 acres). All medium and larger watershed sampling sites have been actively monitoring base flow and storm events since May 2003. The BMP and control small watersheds have been located and will be instrumented in summer 2003. For the period June-October 2002, measured runoff events ranged from 1 to 4 at the initial four sites. The extra large watershed had the largest number of sampled events (4), and sampled events decreased with decreasing watershed size. Over all sites and events, peak atrazine herbicide concentration measured in runoff water was 66 ppb.

Last Modified: 8/1/2014
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