Submitted to: Water Resources Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 25, 2007
Publication Date: September 1, 2007
Citation: Bosch, D.D., Sheridan, J.M., Lowrance, R.R., Hubbard, R.K., Strickland, T.C., Feyereisen, G.W., Sullivan, D.G. 2007. Little River Experimental Watershed Database. Water Resources Research. 43, W09470, doi:10.1029/2006Wr005844. Interpretive Summary: Accurate, long-term records of rainfall and streamflow are needed for natural resource and environmental planning and management. Historically, these long-term records have been useful for flood forecasting, water conservation and management, agricultural and drought planning, and for addressing important environmental and water quality issues. In the late 1960's, the USDA-Agricultural Research Service established a network of research watersheds in the USA to collect such data. One of these networks was located in the Little River drainage basin within the Coastal Plain physiographic region, an important agricultural production region in the southeastern USA. The Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory (SEWRL) has maintained this network for over 37 years, establishing one of the most extensive, watershed-scale data bases available today. The SEWRL has also monitored sediment and pollutant concentrations in streamflow over the past twenty years to permit evaluation of the impacts of agriculture on regional stream and ground water quality. Along with the hydrologic and water quality data, geographic data for land use, soils, geology, and vegetation have also been developed. This report introduces a series of papers intended to document this ARS long-term database and to make this unique data resource available to natural resource and environmental professionals.
Technical Abstract: Long-term, watershed-scale hydrologic and climatic data are invaluable for natural resource and environmental planning and management. Historically, long-term hydrologic records have proved critical for flood forecasting, water conservation and management, agricultural and drought planning, and for addressing critical water quality issues. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory (SEWRL) initiated a hydrologic research program on the Little River Experimental Watershed (LREW) in 1967. The primary intent of the program was to develop improved understanding of basic hydrologic and water quality processes on Coastal Plain watersheds as required to evaluate the effects of agricultural management practices on the region’s natural resources and environment. Long-term (up to 37 yr), research-quality streamflow data have been collected for up to eight flow measurement sites within the Gulf-Atlantic Coastal Plain physiographic region, an important agricultural production region in the southeastern USA. Over the past twenty years, sediment and agrichemical concentrations in streamflow have also been monitored to permit evaluation of the impacts of agriculture on regional surface and ground water quality. Along with the hydrologic and water quality data, geographic spatial data layers for terrain, soils, geology, and vegetation have also been developed. These data bases, which are described in the four accompanying data reports, can be accessed via an ftp site supported by the SEWRL (ftp://www.tiftonars.org/).