Submitted to: First Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/27/2003
Publication Date: 10/27/2003
Citation: Harmel, R.D., Richardson, C.W., King, K.W., Arnold, J.G. 2003. Hydrologic instrumentation at the USDA-ARS Grassland, Soil and Water Research Laboratory, Riesel, TX. Proceedings of First Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds. p. 56-61. Interpretive Summary: The primary functions of the USDA-ARS Grassland, Soil and Water Research Laboratory in Riesel, TX, are: 1) to collect data on rainfall, percolation, evaporation, runoff, etc. and 2) to evaluate the impact of various agricultural land management practices on these processes. These data sets have been used for numerous purposes such as water quality studies, farming practice evaluations, and model development and evaluation. The long records (in excess of 60 years) make the data particularly valuable for studies designed to identify trends or changes caused by climate change or other factors. Installation of a Campbell Scientific radiotelemetry network was completed in 2001. This network comprised of field stations to collect data, a base station to communicate with and collect data from the field stations, and a dedicated computer at the laboratory headquarters in Temple, TX, to allow automated data transfer. Data collected is available for viewing and download at the USDA-ARS Grassland, Soil and Water Research Laboratory, Temple, TX, website: http://arsserv0.tamu.edu/hydata.htm.
Technical Abstract: The USDA-ARS Grassland, Soil and Water Research Laboratory watershed network near Riesel, TX is one of the most intensively monitored hydrological research sites in the country. Rainfall, runoff, and erosion data for the site date from the late 1930's when the laboratory was established to evaluate the hydrologic response from watersheds influenced by various agricultural land management practices in the Texas Blackland Prairie, an important agricultural region encompassing 4.45 million ha and known for its heavy black clay soils which exhibit a strong shrink/swell potential. The 340 ha research site is currently divided into sub-watersheds ranging from 0.1 to 125 ha under pasture and cropland management. In operation are 18 runoff stations, 15 rain gauges, a weather station, a lateral flow station, and 7 shallow groundwater wells. Hydrologic data from these stations are stored on dataloggers, downloaded daily with radio telemetry, and placed on the USDA-ARS Grassland, Soil and Water Laboratory, Temple, TX, website. Water quality data are also collected for each runoff event with automated sampling equipment.