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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Oxford, Mississippi » National Sedimentation Laboratory » Watershed Physical Processes Research » Research » Research Project #441647

Research Project: Science and Technologies for Improving Soil and Water Resources in Agricultural Watersheds

Location: Watershed Physical Processes Research

Project Number: 6060-13000-029-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 13, 2022
End Date: Mar 12, 2027

1. Develop technologies to effectively manage surface water and groundwater resources in the Lower Mississippi River Basin. 1.A. Evaluate aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) for increasing groundwater supply in the Lower Mississippi River Basin. 1.B. Develop databases and computer modeling technologies to manage surface and groundwater resources for sustainable irrigated agriculture in the Lower Mississippi River Basin. 2. Develop and improve technologies to conserve soil and effectively manage erosion and sediments for a range of scales including plot, field, channel, and watershed scales. 2.A. Quantify the effects of soil physicochemical, geographic and hydro-climatic conditions, and soil conservation measures on soil erodibility and health. 2.B. Investigate the transport and fate of sediments eroded from farm fields and channels in agricultural watersheds. 2.C. Develop computer model components to improve assessment of soil and sediment management practices from field to watershed scale. 3. Evaluate management impacts on landscape evolution and processes in support of the national CEAP and LTAR networks. 3.A. Evaluate the multi-scale impacts of soil and water conservation practices. 3.B. Contribute databases and models to evaluate the long-term sustainability of agroecosystems. 3.C. Enhance and analyze the Goodwin Creek Experimental Watershed long-term data sets.

This Research Project addresses: (1) stresses on the Nation’s soil and water resources by increased agricultural water demand, agricultural intensification, and a changing climate; (2) impacts of groundwater withdrawals from the Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer on the integrity of the regional agroecosystem; and (3) limitations in knowledge and tools to assess management and climatic effects on watershed physical processes at plot, farm, watershed, and river-basin scales. We will use an integrated approach to watershed management through the development and testing of innovative practices and computational models based on scientific understanding of multi-scale hydrogeomorphic processes. Specifically, we will evaluate the feasibility of aquifer storage and recovery to provide reliable groundwater supply for irrigated agriculture on the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, and develop databases and computer modeling tools to assess surface water and groundwater resources management in the region. We will combine field and laboratory, short- and long-term experiments to fill technology and knowledge gaps in USDA erosion models concerning soil erodibility characterization, erosion and control of ephemeral gullies and earthen embankments, and transport and fate of eroded sediments. Long-term research and computer model development will investigate the long-term sustainability of agroecosystems. Project outcomes will provide critical information and tools to federal, state and local agencies to: (1) sustainably manage water resources in the Lower Mississippi River Basin, and (2) reduce soil loss and manage sediment in our Nation’s water bodies.