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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED ASSESSMENT AND ANALYSIS OF PHYSICAL LANDSCAPE PROCESSES THAT IMPACT THE QUALITY AND MANAGEMENT OF AGRICULTURAL WATERSHEDS

Location: Watershed Physical Processes Research Unit

Title: Ephemeral Gully Erosion Research: Processes and Modeling

Author
item Alonso, Carlos

Submitted to: International Symposium on Gully Erosion
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 10, 2007
Publication Date: September 17, 2007
Citation: Alonso, C.V. 2007. Ephemeral Gully Erosion Research: Processes and Modeling. Proceedings of the IV International Symposium on Gully Erosion. September 17-19, 2007, Pamplona, Spain, J. Casali and R. Gimenez (Eds.). Public University of Navarre. pp. 15-17.

Interpretive Summary: On hillslopes and agricultural fields, soil erosion occurs in areas of concentrated flow such as rills, crop furrows, and gullies. Ephemeral gullies contribute significantly to soil erosion in agricultural fields, and NRCS has consistently identified gully erosion as their number one problem to solve. Research is needed to further understand the physics of these processes, to derive robust predictive algorithms and methodologies, and to develop reliable erosion control methods. This paper summarizes outcomes of recent investigations by a multidisciplinary team of scientists from ARS, NRCS, and national and foreign universities who are collaborating in experimental and modeling research on critical aspects of ephemeral gully erosion. This new knowledge has already contributed enhancements to a watershed model used by ARS and NRCS to assess the impact of conservation practices on ephemeral gully erosion.

Technical Abstract: The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) defines ephemeral gullies as small channels that can be filled in by normal tillage operations only to reform in the same location by subsequent runoff events. Ephemeral gullies contribute significantly to soil erosion in agricultural fields, and NRCS has consistently identified gully erosion as their number one problem to solve. Moreover, headcut development and migration is closely coupled to the initiation of ephemeral gullies and their extension on hillslopes. Research is needed to further understand the physics of these processes, to derive robust predictive algorithms and methodologies, and to develop reliable control methods. A multidisciplinary team of scientists from the USDA National Sedimentation Laboratory, NRCS, the University at Buffalo, Oklahoma State University, and the University of Nottingham, UK, is collaborating in experimental and modeling research on several aspects of ephemeral gully erosion. The present paper is devoted to highlight outcomes of this collaborative effort reported in a series of concurrent papers at the IVth International Symposium on Gully Erosion.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014
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