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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » Northwest Sustainable Agroecosystems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #280582

Title: Carbon and nitrogen loss in windblown dust on the Columbia Plateau

item GRAVES, LAUREL - Washington State University
item Sharratt, Brenton
item PRESSLEY, SHELLEY - Washington State University

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/30/2012
Publication Date: 3/30/2012
Citation: Graves, L., Sharratt, B.S., Pressley, S. 2012. Carbon and nitrogen loss in windblown dust on the Columbia Plateau. Washington State University College of Agriculture and Home Economics. 74.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Soil erosion from windstorms may lead to high nutrient loss in fields and cause environmental degradation as a result of suspension in the atmosphere or deposition in surface water systems. In particular, high wind weather events can emit particulates from tilled agricultural soils on the Columbia Plateau in the Pacific Northwest. These particulates contain nitrogen (N) and carbon (C), which are essential nutrients for crops and soil microorganisms. Loss of these nutrients is an economic concern to local farmers because depletion of nutrients from soils results in lower crop yield. Historic sediment samples collected from fields in the summer fallow phase of a winter heat/summer fallow rotation were tested for N and C to assess nutrient loss. These events occurred between 1999 and 2006. Dust samplers designed to measure creep, saltation, and suspension at various heights were employed to capture transported particulates. While sediment size distribution for each event has been analyzed, total N and C at various heights has not been analyzed for these events. In order to quantify N and C in the sediment, each sample was weighed and analyzed for N and C content by combustion using a LECO analyzer. These data can be used to determine the enrichment of sediment in N and C compared to the source (soil) and the overall loss of nutrients from agricultural fields on the Columbia Plateau. In the future, our results could lead to testing the effects of lower N and C on soil productivity and measuring the impacts of windblown N and C on the surrounding environment.