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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT OF ALTERNATIVE PRACTICES FOR IMPROVED WATERSHED MANAGEMENT Title: Effectiveness of Best Management Practices: What Have We Learned in the Goodwater Creek Experimental Watershed?

Authors
item Baffaut, Claire
item Broz, Robert -
item Anderson, Stephen -
item Mudgal, Ashish -
item Sadler, Edward

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 15, 2009
Publication Date: February 21, 2010
Repository URL: http://www.usawaterquality.org/conferences/2010/Conf_themes.html
Citation: Baffaut, C., Broz, R., Anderson, S., Mudgal, A., Sadler, E.J. 2010. Effectiveness of Best Management Practices: What Have We Learned in the Goodwater Creek Experimental Watershed? [Abstract]. 2010 Land Grant and Sea Grant National Water Conference Abstracts. Available: http://www.usawaterquality.org/conferences/2010/Conf_themes.html.

Technical Abstract: Economic, social, and physical parameters impact what better management practices (BMP) producers install and their effectiveness. This presentation will summarize the work done in the Goodwater Creek Experimental Watershed to assess the effectiveness of BMPs implemented since 1990 and develop a watershed management plan that addresses the pesticide, nutrient and sediment issues. This north-central Missouri 73-km2 instrumented watershed is included in the Conservation Effects Assessment Program. A clay restrictive layer found in most soils produces water saturation during wet springs and water stress in dry summers, which cause additional challenges for crop production. Watershed-scale social studies in 1992 and 2006 were combined with farm-scale economic analyses to understand the social context, the agronomic and economic risks to which producers are subjected, and how these factors affect their management decisions. Plot, field, and watershed-scale modeling were utilized to link current and alternative management practices to stream water quality. Goodwater Creek producers represent an aging population that manages increasingly larger operations including bigger proportions of rented land from a higher number of landlords. They are well educated and want to be good stewards of the land. However, they also need to be convinced of the effectiveness of the proposed BMPs. Modeling showed that landscape position and associated depth to claypan were important parameters to predict amount of runoff and chemical losses. Recommendations for incentives based on environmental performance were favored over practice-based incentives used in most conservation programs. The resulting watershed management plan includes use of filter strips, reduced rates of herbicides, and chemical incorporation to reduce losses of dissolved chemicals along with waterways, reduced tillage, and terraces to reduce sediment losses. Non-structural practice strategies include crop rotations or cropping system changes. These results provide information for water resource managers to propose effective and acceptable conservation programs in watersheds with similar characteristics.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014
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