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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 Title: Practical Implications of Quantifying Ancient Sedimentation Rates in Lakes

Authors
item Wren, Daniel
item Davidson, Gregg - UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI

Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 20, 2008
Publication Date: May 1, 2008
Citation: Wren, D.G., Davidson, G.R. 2008. Practical Implications of Quantifying Ancient Sedimentation Rates in Lakes. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 63(3): 89A.

Interpretive Summary: Sediments stored in lakes represent a valuable archive that can be used to reveal the erosion history of watersheds. A portion of the soil that is moved down gradient during runoff events is deposited in lakes, and the rate at which sediment accumulates should be proportional to the rate of erosion from the surrounding land. The ability to calculate the rate at which this sediment has accumulated over discrete time intervals in the past opens several opportunities for improved understanding and management of watershed processes. Examples include quantifying changes in erosion and deposition rates caused by anthropogenic or natural shifts in land use or by climate change. Future efforts to conserve soil resources can be better justified if post-clearing increases in erosion rates can be quantified rather than simply inferred. Knowing the amount by which management practices reduce erosion rates can also help to justify expenditures by quantifying the effectiveness of the practices in comparison to ancient erosion rates. The ability to roll back time and peer into the erosion/sedimentation history of watersheds is a valuable tool for evaluating current land-management practices.

Technical Abstract: Sediments stored in lakes represent a valuable archive that can be used to reveal the erosion history of watersheds. A portion of the soil that is moved down gradient during runoff events is deposited in lakes, and the rate at which sediment accumulates should be proportional to the rate of erosion from the surrounding land. The ability to calculate the rate at which this sediment has accumulated over discrete time intervals in the past opens several opportunities for improved understanding and management of watershed processes. Examples include quantifying changes in erosion and deposition rates caused by anthropogenic or natural shifts in land use or by climate change. Future efforts to conserve soil resources can be better justified if post-clearing increases in erosion rates can be quantified rather than simply inferred. Knowing the amount by which management practices reduce erosion rates can also help to justify expenditures by quantifying the effectiveness of the practices in comparison to ancient erosion rates. The ability to roll back time and peer into the erosion/sedimentation history of watersheds is a valuable tool for evaluating current land-management practices.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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