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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CONSERVATION EFFECTS ASSESSMENT FOR THE ST. JOSEPH RIVER WATERSHED

Location: National Soil Erosion Research Lab

Title: Nutrient Attenuation Under Natural Conditions in Agricultural Drainage Ditches

Authors
item Ahiablame, L -
item Chaubey, I -
item Smith, Douglas
item Engel, B -

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 1, 2009
Publication Date: January 5, 2010
Citation: Ahiablame, L.M., Chaubey, I., Smith, D.R., Engel, B. 2010. Nutrient Attenuation Under Natural Conditions in Agricultural Drainage Ditches [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Current and Future State of Water Resources and Environment (EWRI-IITM2010). January 5-7, 2010, Chennai, India. 2010. CDROM.

Technical Abstract: Drainage ditches are common practice in agricultural landscapes with poorly drained soils. Even though high concentrations of nutrients and other agricultural chemicals have been reportedly associated with agricultural drainage ditches, processes affecting nutrient transport in these ditches are not clear. In this study ditch water samples were collected and analyzed for soluble phosphorus (SP), total phosphorus (TP), ammonia nitrogen (NH3-N), nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N), and total nitrogen (TN). Ditch sediments were extracted for equilibrium phosphorus concentration (EPC0), exchangeable phosphorus (Ex-P), phosphorus sorption index (PSI), and exchangeable nitrogen (Ex-N). Changes in nutrient concentrations downstream along the study reaches were used to calculate net uptake lengths which suggested that nutrients were generally not assimilated as efficiently as by natural streams. Sediments in tile-fed drainage ditches did not appear to be sensitive to inputs from tile drains. Data from this study indicated that the drainage ditches were nutrient-rich aquatic systems that could influence the quality of downstream waters. Proper drainage management options should be implemented to reduce the delivery of nutrients to drainage ditches.

Last Modified: 9/2/2014
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