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ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Research Project #437316

Research Project: Mapping Nitrate Contributions to Streams and Their Relation to Conservation Practices

Location: Soil and Water Management Research

Project Number: 5062-12130-007-23-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Sep 23, 2019
End Date: Sep 22, 2020

Objective:
Assess the effectiveness of edge-of-field Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) practices in reducing ditch nitrate loading in tile-drained fields in the Upper Mississippi River Basin.

Approach:
1. Pilot a novel method to measure changes in nitrate loading in the stream-wise direction along tile ditches in selected sub-watersheds in southern Minnesota. 2. Map continuous nitrate concentration using an in-situ optical nitrate sensor in a small GPS-equipped boat paddled downstream, along with a sonde that measures associated parameters such as dissolved oxygen, temperature, and conductivity. 3. These data will be coupled with frequent measurements of flow acquired with cross-stream transects using an acoustic Doppler current profiler, also GPS-equipped. 4. Generate a data set of nitrate load versus downstream distance that can then be used in conjunction with a map of conservation practices in each watershed to assess their effectiveness in reducing nitrate loads.