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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #276009

Title: Goodwater Creek Watershed, Missouri: National Institute of Food and Agriculture–Conservation Effects Assessment Project

item ARABI, MAZDAK - Colorado State University
item Baffaut, Claire
item Sadler, Edward
item ANDERSON, STEPHEN - University Of Missouri
item BROZ, ROBERT - University Of Missouri
item MEALS, DON - Icenine Environmental Consulting
item HOAG, DANA - Colorado State University
item OSMOND, DEANNA - North Carolina State University

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/3/2012
Publication Date: 12/1/2012
Citation: Arabi, M., Baffaut, C., Sadler, E.J., Anderson, S.H., Broz, R.R., Meals, D., Hoag, D.L., Osmond, D. 2012. Goodwater Creek Watershed, Missouri: National Institute of Food and Agriculture–Conservation Effects Assessment Project. In: Osmond, D., Meals, D., Hoag, D., Arabi, M. editors. How to Build Better Agricultural Conservation Programs to Protect Water Quality: The National Institute of Food and Agriculture–Conservation Effects Assessment Project Experience. Ankeny, IA: Soil and Water Conservation Society. p. 265-286.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The Goodwater Creek NIFA-CEAP project was designed to assess water quality benefits from conservation practices implemented at the field level and develop a watershed management plan that addresses current pesticide, nutrient and sediment issues. This chapter describes and summarizes the findings for this 72 km2 watershed in Northeast Missouri for which extensive hydrologic and climatic data have been collected. The watershed is representative of a larger area characterized by soils with a restrictive clay layer at depths that range from 15 to 50 cm. This layer produces water saturation during wet springs and causes additional challenges for crop production. Watershed-scale social studies in 1992 and 2006 were combined with farm-scale economic analyses to understand the watershed’s social context, the agronomic and economic risks to which producers are subjected, and how these factors affect their management decisions. Goodwater Creek producers represent an aging population that manages increasingly larger operations including bigger proportions of rented land from a higher number of landlords. They are well educated and want to be good stewards of the land. However, they also need to be convinced of the effectiveness of the proposed BMP practices. Analysis of field-scale data demonstrated that the benefits of practices implemented to control erosion and sediment transport, i.e., conservation tillage, terraces and grass waterways, had little to counter-productive effects on herbicide losses. Analysis of stream flow and water quality data could not identify consistent trends in water quality resulting from the implementation of BMPs after 14 percent of the total watershed area was protected by structural BMPs. Plot, field, and watershed-scale modeling using the Agricultural Policy/Environmental Extender (APEX) model and the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) were utilized to link current and alternative management practices to stream water quality and determine the amount of protection and the type of practices needed to obtain consistent water quality improvements. These analyses showed that landscape position and associated depth to restrictive clay layer were important parameters to predict the amount of runoff and chemical losses. Filter strips, reduced rates of herbicides, and chemical incorporation were proposed to reduce losses of dissolved chemicals along with waterways, reduced tillage, and terraces to reduce sediment losses. Non practice-based strategies included crop rotations and cropping system changes. These results provide information for water resource managers to propose effective and acceptable conservation programs in watersheds with similar characteristics.