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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: UNDERSTANDING AND PREDICTING THE IMPACT OF AGRICULTURE ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY OF MANAGED WATERSHEDS

Location: Water Quality and Ecology Research

Title: A Review of Effectiveness of Vegetative Buffers on Sediment Trapping in Agricultural Areas

Authors
item Yuan, Yongping - UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI
item BINGNER, RONALD
item LOCKE, MARTIN

Submitted to: Journal of Ecohydrology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 23, 2009
Publication Date: September 30, 2009
Citation: Yuan, Y., Bingner, R.L., Locke, M.A. 2009. A Review of Effectiveness of Vegetative Buffers on Sediment Trapping in Agricultural Areas. Journal of Ecohydrology. 2: 321-336; doi: 10.1002/eco.82 [online].

Interpretive Summary: The principal focus of the USDA Conservation Effect Assessment Project (CEAP) Watershed Assessment Study effort is to provide an assessment of environmental benefits derived from the implementation of USDA conservation practices. Vegetative buffer systems have been recognized as an important conservation practice and have been studied for their capability to enhance water quality through control of non-point source pollution. A limitation in determining the effectiveness of vegetative buffer systems on water quality improvement at a watershed scale is the lack of long-term field monitoring data. As a result, modeling technology has not been developed to adequately evaluate riparian buffer processes. Therefore, the overall objective of this paper is to document existing vegetative buffer studies that would lead to a fuller understanding of vegetative buffer processes necessary for the development of water quality models and non-point source pollution assessments. The paper provides a thorough review of relevant literature on erosion characteristics of riparian soils, riparian buffer water quality functions and dynamics and field quantitative evaluations of the performance of vegetative buffers on sediment and nutrient reduction. This analysis can be used as the basis for planning future studies on watershed scale simulation of vegetative buffer systems, design of effective riparian buffers for non-point source pollution control or water quality restoration and design of riparian buffer monitoring programs in watersheds including the Beasley Lake watershed in Mississippi.

Technical Abstract: In recent years, there has been growing recognition of the importance of riparian buffers between agricultural fields and waterbodies. Riparian buffers play an important role in mitigating the impacts of land use activities on water quality and aquatic ecosystems. Riparian buffer systems have been studied for the enhancement of water quality through control of non-point source pollution. However, evaluating the effectiveness of riparian buffer systems on a watershed scale is complex, and watershed models have limited capabilities for simulating riparian buffer processes. Thus, the overall objective of this paper is to develop an understanding of riparian buffer processes towards water quality modeling/monitoring and non-point source pollution assessment. The paper provides a thorough review of relevant literature on riparian buffer water quality functions and dynamics; and field evaluations of the performance of riparian buffers on sediment and nutrient reduction. This analysis can be used as the basis for planning future studies at the National Sedimentation Laboratory on watershed scale simulation of riparian buffer systems, design of effective riparian buffers for non-point source pollution control or water quality restoration and design of riparian buffer monitoring programs in watersheds.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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