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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Measurement and Prediction of Total Sediment Load in Agricultural Watersheds

Authors
item Kuhnle, Roger
item Alonso, Carlos
item Derrow, Robert - NCPA UNIVERSITY OF MS

Submitted to: Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 4, 1995
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Accurate measurement and prediction of the rates of erosion and transport of soils, sands and gravels by rivers and streams from agricultural lands is an important task. Erosion of the land reduces fertility of the soil, pollutes surface waters, and may reduce the storage capacity of reservoirs and the capacity of channels to convey flood waters. Any long term management program must take into account the movement of sediment through a watershed. The National Sedimentation Laboratory has been a leader in erosion and sediment transport research in channels and watersheds for over 30 years. Studies of the processes involved in the erosion and transport of sediment by streams and rivers have been conducted in the laboratory and in experimental watersheds. This research has yielded information which has improved our understanding of the sources of sediment in a watershed and improved our capability to predict the rates of sediment transport from watersheds. A new joint project involving scientists at the National Sedimentation Laboratory and at the National Center for Physical Acoustics at the University of Mississippi is working to develop acoustic techniques to automatically measure the rate of sediment transport in streams. Continuing research at the laboratory will increase our knowledge of the movement of sediment in streams and rivers and improve our ability to predict and manage the sediments in agricultural watersheds.

Technical Abstract: For many years, the National Sedimentation Laboratory (NSL) has been a leader in sediment transport research. Research is currently being conducted in laboratory flumes and in the Goodwin Creek Research Watershed. Basic concepts in sediment transport developed from experiments conducted under controlled conditions in the laboratory are tested with field data collected on the Goodwin Creek watershed. The watershed provides valuable data on the transport of sediment under the changing conditions of a natural system. The data collected are being used to develop and refine predictive models of sediment transport. One such model is SEDTRA, designed to predict total transport of silts, sand, and gravel materials. SEDTRA was developed by Jurgen Garbrecht (ARS, Durant, OK) and is being refined using sediment transport data collected in NSL laboratory flumes and on Goodwin Creek. The high manpower demands imposed by today's total load sampling procedures makes it imperative to explore the potential of less expensive technology. To this end, new instruments for the measurement of the rate of sediment transport are being developed at the National Sedimentation Laboratory in cooperation with researchers from the National Center for Physical Acoustics, University of Mississippi. Preliminary tests of these instruments are underway at the laboratory.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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