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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Wind Erosion and Water Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #345420

Title: Current knowledge and future research directions to link soil health and water conservation in the Ogallala Aquifer region

item CANO, AMANDA - Texas Tech University
item NUNEZ, AGUSTIN - Colorado State University
item Acosta-Martinez, Veronica
item SCHIPANSKI, MEAGAN - Colorado State University
item GHIMIRE, RAJAN - New Mexico State University
item RICE, CHARLES - Kansas State University
item WEST, CHARLES - Texas Tech University

Submitted to: Geoderma
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/27/2018
Publication Date: 5/22/2018
Citation: Cano, A.M., Nunez, A., Acosta Martinez, V., Schipanski, M., Ghimire, R., Rice, C., West, C. 2018. Current knowledge and future research directions to link soil health and water conservation in the Ogallala Aquifer region. Geoderma. 328:109-118.

Interpretive Summary: The Ogallala Aquifer provides irrigation for agriculture and animal production for eight states within the Great Plains in the United States. However, irrigation demands have increased due to frequent droughts. In some regions, producers have lost access to water and have transitioned from irrigated cropping systems to dryland production. To maintain current crop yields, the selection of management practices, which conserve water and lead to healthier soil, will alleviate this transition. A team from Texas Tech University, USDA-ARS from Lubbock, TX, Kansas State University, Colorado State University and New Mexico State University wrote a review discussing the role of soil health in soil water conservation to maintain crop productivity within the Ogallala aquifer region in the 21st Century.

Technical Abstract: The Ogallala Aquifer is one of the largest freshwater aquifers in the world. It acts as a valuable resource in agriculture, animal production, and public water supplies across eight Great Plains states. However, with high irrigation demand, low recharge rates across most of the region, and extreme climate variability, the Ogallala Aquifer has become an exhaustible resource. Some areas of the Ogallala Aquifer Region (OAR) are challenged with the transition of irrigated crop systems to dryland production and selection of sustainable management practices to conserve water and soil health. This review identifies the role of soil health in adapting to extreme climate variability with reduced irrigated water. We will describe the OAR, define roles of microorganisms and soil organic matter (SOM) in soil health, outline potential soil health indicators, and discuss the importance of soil health assessments and management challenges facing the OAR. Information on this multi-geographical region will aid in soil health assessments developed in other regions facing similar challenges.