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EROSION CONTROL PRACTICES INTEGRATED WITH POLYACRYLAMIDE TO REDUCE SEDIMENT LOSS IN FURROW IRRIGATION

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. Vol. 21(4): 595-603. (doi: 10.13031/2013.18567) @2005
Authors:   B. G. Leib, C. A. Redulla, R. G. Stevens, G. R. Matthews, D. A. Strausz
Keywords:   Furrow irrigation, Polyacrylamide, Erosion control, Return flow, Sediment loss, Grass filter strip, Surge irrigation, Check dam, Surface drains

In the Lower Yakima River Basin of Washington, surface irrigators need to reduce sediment loads exiting their fields in order to comply with newly established water quality standards. The goal of this research was to assess methods for improving the water quality of return flow from furrow irrigation by combining a patch application of polyacrylamide (PAM) with an additional erosion control practice in the tailwater ditch. A study was conducted in 2001 and 2002 that combined PAM with: 1) surge irrigation, 2) grass filter strips, 3) check dams, and 4) surface drains. In order to test the treatments under different cultural practices and slopes, the study was conducted at three site: two vineyards with silt loam soils at 1.2% slope in both the furrows and the tailwater ditch, and a cornfield with silt loam and sandy loam soil at 0.2% slope in both the furrows and the tailwater ditch. During irrigation events, sediment samples were taken and outflow rates were recorded at periodic intervals to determine sediment concentration, run-off volume, and sediment load from each treatment. At all sites and at all monitored irrigations, the control plot, which had only the patch application of PAM, produced sediment concentrations greater than the total maximum daily load standard of 56 mg.L-1 for the Lower Yakima River. All four erosion control practices in combination with PAM were more effective in reducing sediment load at the vineyards as compared to the cornfield. Only the grass treatment with PAM was consistent in reducing sediment concentrations below 56 mg.L-1 in both the vineyards and the cornfield.

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