Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 9, 2007
Publication Date: July 23, 2007
Citation: King, K.W., Smiley, P.C., Fausey, N.R., Baker, B.J. 2007. Validation of Paired Watersheds for Assessing Conservation Practices in Upper Big Walnut Creek Watershed, Ohio [abstract]. Soil and Water Conservation Society. p. 40 Technical Abstract: Total global production and use of agricultural fertilizers and pesticides has steadily increased over the last 40 years. The liberal use of nutrients and pesticides on cropland, while partially responsible for increasing global food supply, introduces a substantial risk to aquatic ecosystems. The potential ecosystem impacts of applying liberal amounts of nutrients and pesticides emphasize the need for environmentally friendly and sustainable agricultural practices. Implementation of conservation practices, such as precision nutrient management and pesticide management, is one solution to reduce watershed loadings of nutrients and pesticides. However, only a limited number of studies have attempted to quantify the pesticide and nutrient loading reductions that occur following implementation of these practices. The objective of this research was to identify, instrument, and validate paired watersheds in the Upper Big Walnut Creek (UBWC) watershed to quantify the hydrologic, chemical, and ecologic impacts of implementing precision nutrient management and pesticide management. Two representative pair of headwater watersheds, one pair characterized as drainage ditches and one pair characterized as unchannelized streams, were identified and instrumented with flumes and automated water samplers. Hydrology, water chemistry, and ecology data were collected for two years. Preliminary results indicate marked differences in water chemistry and ecology of ditches and streams. Additionally, strong correlations in water chemistry indices between each pair of watersheds were measured that validate the paired watersheds. The preliminary findings support the use of the paired watershed design and the selection of study sites to quantify the watershed scale impact of implementing precision nutrient management and pesticide management on headwater watersheds.