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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: An Experimental Approach to Assess the Influence of Nutrient and Pesticide Practices on Headwater Agricultural Watersheds in Central Ohio

item Smiley, Peter
item King, Kevin
item Fausey, Norman

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 14, 2006
Publication Date: October 11, 2006
Citation: Smiley, P.C., King, K.W., Fausey, N.R. 2006. An experimental approach to assess the influence of nutrient and pesticide practices on headwater agricultural watersheds in central ohio. Meeting Abstract. p. 90.

Technical Abstract: Sediment, nutrient, and pesticide losses from agricultural cropland are a major focus of the voluntary conservation practices funded by the 2002 Farm Bill. There has been much emphasis on implementing conservation practices in headwater watersheds to protect downstream source water supplies within agricultural watersheds in the midwestern United States. However, understanding the impacts of conservation practices at the watershed scale is difficult and requires an experimental approach. We have designed a watershed scale experiment to quantify the hydrological, chemical, and ecological impacts of nutrient and pesticide management practices on headwater drainage ditches and streams within the Upper Big Walnut Creek watershed, Ohio. One pair of drainage ditches and one pair of streams were selected and instrumented with flumes for hydrology measurements and automated samplers for the collection of water samples. Additionally, sampling sites for the collection of fishes and macroinvertebrates and in situ measurements of selected hydrology and water chemistry parameters have been established. Treatment watersheds within each pair have been selected. Implementation of precision nutrient management and atrazine buyouts within treatment watersheds will be facilitated through an Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) contract. This EQIP contract is written specifically to provide an incentive for landowners within the treatment watersheds to implement the desired practices. Practices occurring with control watersheds will represent the prevailing practices used within our study area. We plan to measure hydrology, nutrient concentrations, pesticide concentrations, and aquatic communities within all watersheds for a minimum of two years with and without precision nutrient management and atrazine buyouts. Preliminary results reveal a strong correlation in selected water chemistry parameters between watershed pairs and highlight the differences in water chemistry and fish communities between headwater drainage ditches and streams.

Last Modified: 4/21/2015
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