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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Little River Experimental Watershed Water Quality Record: the First Three Decades

Authors
item Feyereisen, Gary
item Lowrance, Robert
item Sheridan, Joseph
item Hubbard, Robert
item Bosch, David
item Strickland, Timothy

Submitted to: Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 1, 2006
Publication Date: May 16, 2006
Citation: Feyereisen, G.W., Lowrance, R.R., Sheridan, J.M., Hubbard, R.K., Bosch, D.D., Strickland, T.C. 2006. Little river experimental watershed water quality record: the first three decades [abstract]. Second Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds.

Interpretive Summary: Landowners, residents, citizens, and policy makers concerned about the quality of surface waters in the Coastal Plain are served by the development of a long-term record of the water quality. Such a record of stream nutrient and sediment readings over a period of decades provides information to monitor the effects of changing land use, agricultural practices, and climate on water quality. Since 1974, the USDA-ARS Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory has tested and recorded nitrogen, phosphorus, and chloride levels at eight locations within the Little River Experimental Watershed (LREW), a 129 mi2 area northwest of Tifton, Georgia. In the past, a few years’ of the data available from the LREW have been published in scientific journals. Now, the entire record of chemical concentrations and the corresponding chemical loads, or amounts of chemicals carried in the streams, are being made available to the public and other researchers on the world wide web.

Technical Abstract: Water resource quantity and quality issues are a concern on the Southeast Coastal Plain. A water quality sampling program was initiated in 1974 on the 334 km2 Little River Experimental Watershed near Tifton in south central Georgia to monitor the effects of changing land use and agricultural practices over time and to support development of simulation models capable of predicting future impacts of agricultural system changes. Stream samples were taken on a weekly or more frequent basis either by manual grab, pump grab, automated timed laboratory composite, automated timed discrete, automated flow composite nonrefrigerated, or automated flow composite refrigerated methods. Samples were measured for chloride, ammonium nitrogen, nitrate nitrogen, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and ortho phosphate. Nutrient loads were calculated by integrating concentrations with streamflow measurements. The concentration and load data are being published and made available electronically on the world wide web to the research community and general public.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014