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Title: Water quality analysis of an intensively used on-farm storage reservoir in the northeast Arkansas delta

item Moore, Matthew
item PIERCE, JON - Arkansas State University
item FARRIS, JERRY - Arkansas State University

Submitted to: Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2015
Publication Date: 7/1/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Moore, M.T., Pierce, J.R., Farris, J.L. 2015. Water quality analysis of an intensively used on-farm storage reservoir in the northeast Arkansas delta. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. 69:89-94.

Interpretive Summary: Farm reservoirs are being rapidly constructed in the lower Mississippi Delta to not only protect groundwater resources, but also to improve regional water quality through tailwater recovery systems. The current study examined water quality through chemical and biological testing of sites entering the reservoir, within the reservoir, and tailwater ditches exiting the reservoir. As expected, nutrient and other physicochemical parameters for water quality varied by season. Although the reservoir itself did not support a large diversity of fauna, the tailwater ditch had slightly greater diversity. None of the water or sediment samples analyzed affected growth or reproduction of standard bioassay organisms. This research marks some of the pioneering efforts to assess, from both a chemical and biological perspective, the water quality of on-farm storage reservoirs as part of the larger tailwater recovery system.

Technical Abstract: The use of farm reservoirs for supplemental irrigation is gaining popularity in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (MAP). Due to depletions of several aquifers, many counties within the MAP have been designated as critical-use groundwater areas. To help alleviate stress on these aquifers, many farmers are implementing storage reservoirs for economic and conservation benefits. When used in tandem with a tailwater recovery system, reservoirs have the potential to trap and transform potential contaminants (e.g. nutrients and pesticides), rather than releasing them through drainage into receiving systems such as lakes, rivers, and streams. Roberts Reservoir is an intensively used, 49 ha on-farm storage reservoir, located in Poinsett County, Arkansas. Water quality analyses and toxicity assessments of the reservoir and surrounding ditches indicated a stable water quality environment, with no observed toxicity present in collected samples. Results of this study suggest that water released into a local receiving stream poses no contaminant risk and could be maintained for irrigation purposes, thereby reducing the need for additional groundwater depletion.