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Title: Long-term Water Chemistry Database, Little River Experimental Watershed

item Feyereisen, Gary
item Lowrance, Robert
item Strickland, Timothy - Tim
item Sheridan, Joseph
item Bosch, David - Dave

Submitted to: Water Resources Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/25/2007
Publication Date: 9/5/2007
Citation: Feyereisen, G.W., Lowrance, R.R., Strickland, T.C., Sheridan, J.M., Bosch, D.D. 2007. Long-term Water Chemistry Database, Little River Experimental Watershed. Water Resources Research. 43, W09474, doi:10.1029/2006WR005835.

Interpretive Summary: In the 1960’s, the USDA established a hydrology research laboratory, Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory, and began to construct a streamflow measurement system at the head of the Little River west and north of the city of Tifton in southwest Georgia. An objective of the laboratory was to monitor the effects of changing land use and agricultural practices over time on water quantity and water quality. Beginning in 1974, a water chemistry program was established at the Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory to monitor the levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment in the Little River. The stream nutrient concentrations and estimated nutrient loads from the first thirty years of the water chemistry program are being made available to the public on the world wide web. The available information is valuable in determining the affect that changes to agricultural systems have, for example shifts in animal agriculture, modifications to cropping rotations, or developments to tillage methods, on Coastal Plains streams. The data are available at the following internet address:

Technical Abstract: A water quality sampling program was initiated in 1974 by the United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service on the 334 km2 Little River Experimental Watershed near Tifton in south Georgia to monitor the effects of changing land use and agricultural practices over time and to support development of simulation models capable of predicting future impacts of agricultural land use and management changes. Stream samples were taken on a weekly or more frequent basis and analyzed for chloride, ammonium nitrogen, nitrate plus nitrite nitrogen, total kjeldahl nitrogen, total phosphorus, and dissolved molybdate reactive phosphorus. Monitoring began in 1974 on the entire watershed and four nested subwatersheds, ranging in size from 16.8 to 114.9 km2, and continues until present. Partial records of 7, 10, and 19 years exist for three additional subwatersheds. Suspended solids data are available for all eight subwatersheds for 1974-1978 and 1979-1981, three subwatersheds for 1982-1986, and all subwatersheds again beginning in the year 2000. The concentration and associated load data are being published on the world wide web and made available electronically to the research community and general public.