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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Grazinglands Research Laboratory » Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #313305

Research Project: AGRICULTURAL LAND MANAGEMENT TO OPTIMIZE PRODUCTIVITY AND NATURAL RESOURCE CONSERVATION AT FARM AND WATERSHED SCALES

Location: Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research

Title: The effects of land use changes and climate variability on reservoir sedimentation for the Little Washita River experimental watershed

Author
item Skibstead, Hollie
item Moriasi, Daniel
item Steiner, Jean
item Starks, Patrick - Pat
item Guzman, Jorge - Waterborne Environmental
item Verser, Jerry - Alan

Submitted to: International Soil and Water Conservation Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/28/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Abstract Only

Technical Abstract: In the 1930’s, the United States experienced a period of severe dust storms known as the Dust Bowl, caused by severe drought and lack of proper farming methods. Lack of vegetation combined with isolated periods of intense rainfall caused increased erosion and flooding. As a result of the Flood Control Act of 1936, the Washita River Basin (WRB) was one of eleven pilot watershed projects chosen to construct flood control reservoirs. These reservoirs were implemented to prevent and manage soil erosion and flooding. A total of 45 reservoirs were installed between 1969 and 1982 in the Little Washita River Experimental Watershed (LWREW) within the WRB. Over time, these reservoirs lose water holding capacity due to sedimentation whose rates are dependent on land use changes and climate variability. This study sought to determine the impact of land use changes and climate variability on reservoir sedimentation. The main focus was determining the soil physical properties such as bulk density and soil texture. Sediment cores were collected from ten reservoirs using state-of-the-art coring system. The cores were cut, weighed, and dried to determine the bulk density of each sample. After determining the bulk density, samples were tested in the lab using the hydrometer method to determine the soil texture. Results indicated that variability of bulk density and soil texture were significantly impacted by land use changes and climate variability for the areas contributing to the respective reservoirs within the LWREW. Therefore, it is important to utilize proper farming methods to minimize the negative impacts of soil erosion.