Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #296223

Title: Research watersheds in the Central Mississippi River Basin: challenges and opportunities

item Sadler, Edward
item Baffaut, Claire
item Sudduth, Kenneth - Ken

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/18/2013
Publication Date: 7/24/2013
Citation: Sadler, E.J., Baffaut, C., Sudduth, K.A. 2013. Research watersheds in the Central Mississippi River Basin: challenges and opportunities. ASABE Annual International Meeting. Available online:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The Central Mississippi River Basin (CMRB) member of ARS’s Long-Term Agro-Ecosystem Research (LTAR) network is operated by the USDA-ARS Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research Unit located in Columbia Missouri. The CMRB is anchored around the Goodwater Creek Experimental Watershed (GCEW), part of ARS’s research watershed network. Rain gauge network data have been collected in the GCEW since 1969 and stream flow at 12, 28, and 72 km2 scales, since 1971. In 1991, water quality measurements were added at those and smaller scales for surface water and at a number of groundwater well nests. In 2005, monitoring at larger scales was added both downstream of GCEW and on other tributaries of Mark Twain Lake. Challenges in managing this research watershed and exploiting the data in collaboration with that from the network are numerous. They include the metadata (data organization, storing, and documentation; migration to new sensor and data technologies as they become available), the institutional challenges to maintain the monitoring and research experiments, the administrative challenges to sustain the necessary investments, and the human challenges encountered when initiating and sustaining long-term communication within and among groups of a network. These are in addition to scientific challenges particular to watershed scale research, which among others include spatial and temporal heterogeneities, difficulties in documenting land use and land management at such scale, and scaling research results from point-based to river basin scales.