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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Oxford, Mississippi » National Sedimentation Laboratory » Watershed Physical Processes Research » Research » Research Project #430534

Research Project: Utilizing Acoustic and Geophysics Technology to Assess and Monitor Watersheds in the United States

Location: Watershed Physical Processes Research

Project Number: 6060-13000-027-01-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2016
End Date: May 31, 2021

Objective:
Develop innovative acoustic and geophysical technology for assessment of soil erosion, monitoring sediment transport, quantifying deposition, and impact on reservoirs or open water. The objectives of this project are: 1.) Develop acoustic and orthogonal geophysical methods to characterize and monitor surface and sub-surface soil properties and processes that contribute to water driven erosion and transport of soil and to assess the potential for dam and levee failures and 2.) Develop and deploy acoustic measurement systems across a watershed to provide improved data collection of sediment flux.

Approach:
Development of acoustic and geophysics technology addressing gaps in the USDA’s suite of tools to map and monitor hydraulic processes over a range of time and space scales will consist of: theoretical and modeling efforts, controlled laboratory experiments, and field measurements using the newly developed hardware and techniques. Theoretical and modeling efforts establish the feasibility and sensitive of acoustic attributes to soil processes and sediment transport. Laboratory measurements help to better understand the physics of soils and its interaction with water and determine optimal sensor configurations, data quality requirements, and data processing schemes. Field measurements provide the final proof of concept design and incorporation into USDA applications. Specifically, the first objective relates to acoustic and geophysical methods that will enhance the study of erosion and landscape development, improve technology for studying soil pipe development, and assess shallow groundwater. The second objective relates to the development and deployment of multiple individual sediment monitoring systems across a watershed will provide improved spatial and temporal monitoring of sediment flux.