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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item King, Kevin
item Smiley, Peter - Rocky
item Fausey, Norman - Norm

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/6/2006
Publication Date: 3/1/2006
Citation: King, K.W., Smiley, P.C., Fausey, N.R. 2006. Hydrology and water chemistry responses to conservation practices and land use within the Upper Big Walnut Creek watershed. Meeting Abstract. Poster.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Approximately 11,000 community water systems serving over 160 million customers in the U.S. depend on surface water as a source of drinking water supply. Surface and subsurface drainage waters from agriculture, golf courses, suburban lawns and gardens, and numerous other land uses drain into these sources of drinking water. Drainage waters often contain high concentrations of sediments, nutrients, and pesticides requiring costly treatment before the water can be delivered to customers. In the case of agriculture, an extensive body of literature exists that describes plot and/or field-scale conservation practices designed to protect source water quality. However, research results from plot- and field-scale studies are limited in that they cannot capture the complexities and interactions of conservation practices at the watershed scale. This research is designed to address the question: ”what is the effect of land use and management on source water quality within Upper Big Walnut Creek watershed and can the widespread adoption of conservation management practices at the watershed scale reduce sediment, nutrient, and pesticide loadings to surface water bodies?” Hydrology and water chemistry assessments will be conducted within Upper Big Walnut Creek at three primary spatial scales: 1) edge-of-field (acres), 2) small watershed (100s of acres), and 3) large watershed (1000s of acres). Four watersheds that constitutes two pairs have been instrumented for this effort. In each watershed pair, one watershed has been designated a control and the other watershed a treatment. In the control watershed, implementation of conservation practices has been held to a minimum. In the treatment watershed, conservation practices have been promoted. To date, baseline data on hydrology and water chemistry has been collected at two spatial scales (small and large watershed) for a period of at least one year. After installation of conservation practices, the hydrology and water chemistry impacts will be measured at the identified spatial scales for the duration of the practice. The resulting data will permit the assessment of cascading impacts as the future practices are implemented within the watersheds. Land use effects will also be assessed by measuring hydrology and water chemistry indices from watersheds exhibiting different land use classifications (agriculture, urban, turf, etc.). The findings will be related to downstream measurements to understand the role of each land use with the larger watershed system.

Last Modified: 06/22/2017
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