The USDA-ARS National Sedimentation Laboratory (NSL), Oxford, Mississippi is the agency’s premier research facility in the areas of (1) watershed erosion and sedimentation processes, and (2) watershed ecological functions as impacted by agricultural practices. The NSL research program emphasizes interdisciplinary studies dealing with physical, chemical, and biological processes related to natural resources in agricultural watersheds, and assessing strategies for sustaining and enhancing the integrity and function of agro-ecosystems.
Specific areas of study include: (a) Soil erosion, transport and deposition of sediment in watersheds including stream stability and bank protection; (b) agricultural practice and stream structure impacts on water quantity, water quality, and ecosystem services; (c) movement and fate of chemicals within the landscape; and (d) ecosystem integrity of streams and adjacent riparian zones, lakes and wetlands.
The research at the NSL supports ARS National Program 211 (Water Availability and Watershed Management) and also contributes to National Programs 212 (Climate Change, Soils, and Emissions) and 216 (Agricultural System Competitiveness and Sustainability).
The NSL Oxford, Mississippi consists of two research units, Water Quality and Ecology (WQERU) and Watershed Physical Processes (WPPRU), with a total of 14 scientists. Disciplines of scientific expertise include hydrology, ecology, soil science, agricultural engineering, and microbiology.