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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #391489

Research Project: Linkages Between Crop Production Management and Sustainability in the Central Mississippi River Basin

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

Title: The USDA-ARS Goodwater Creek Experimental Watershed enables long-term agroecosystem research at multiple scales

item Baffaut, Claire
item Schreiner-Mcgraw, Adam
item Abendroth, Lori
item Kitchen, Newell
item Sudduth, Kenneth - Ken
item Veum, Kristen

Submitted to: Frontiers in Hydrology Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/14/2022
Publication Date: 6/19/2022
Citation: Baffaut, C., Schreiner-Mcgraw, A.P., Abendroth, L.J., Kitchen, N.R., Sudduth, K.A., Veum, K.S. 2022. The USDA-ARS Goodwater Creek Experimental Watershed enables long-term agroecosystem research at multiple scales [abstract]. Frontiers in Hydrology Meeting, June 19-24, 2022, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Soils’ restrictive layers limit infiltration, alter hydrologic processes, and are common throughout the world such as in claypan soils. Claypan hydrology represents extreme conditions in terms of runoff and pollutant transport potential and causes agricultural challenges because of minimal percolation and perched water tables during the wetter spring months. The 72-km2 Goodwater Creek Experimental Watershed (GCEW) in Missouri was established in the early 1970s to study hydrologic processes on U.S. Midwest claypan soils, characterized by a dense clay layer 5 to 30 cm below ground. Since 1971, stream gauges measure discharge. Since 1991, automated samplers collect water during storm events with additional samples collected weekly. At the same time, monitoring equipment allow the quantification of sediment, nutrients, and herbicides for water quality assessments in large plots and fields managed under contrasting cropping strategies. Rain gauges since 1971 and a meteorological station since 1993 measure precipitation, temperature, relative humidity, and solar radiation. Repeated soil sampling assesses spatial and temporal variability of soil physical, chemical, and biological properties. Grain and biomass yields capture the spatial variability of crop yields at plot and field scale. Measurement of water and carbon fluxes, soil moisture, and additional water quality metrics (pH, dissolved oxygen, total dissolved solids) started in 2015 or later. Early research contributed to improved understanding of surface runoff and subsurface lateral flow processes on these soils. Data from water quality and yield monitoring contribute to the understanding of sediment, pesticide and nutrient transport processes, and the long-term effects of crop production on water quality and productivity. The multidisciplinary data collected over up to 50 years enables the detection of long-term trends and a robust evaluation of agroecosystem models, which inform environmental and productivity outcomes from management, land use, and climate. The GCEW is part of the Long-Term Agroecosystem Research network (the Central Mississippi River Basin site), the Conservation Effects Assessment Project, and Ameriflux networks. Data are available via national databases (e.g., STEWARDS, Ameriflux, and AgCROS).