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Soil Erosion and Its Response to No-till Practice Estimated with ArcView GIS

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

Citation:  Paper number  032288,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.13830) @2003
Authors:   Guobin Fu, Shulin Chen, Donald K McCool
Keywords:   Soil erosion, Sediment yield, RUSLE, No-till, Pataha Creek Watershed, ArcView GIS

ArcView GIS and the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) were used to estimate soil erosion and its response to no-till practice in Pataha Creek Watershed, a typical dryland agricultural watershed in southeastern Washington. With the aid of GIS and appropriate formula specific design for Northwest Pacific region, the L and S factors can be easily calculated from DEM and Req factor from precipitation map. K factor was directly from national SSURGO database, and C factor was calculated from RUSLE using crop rotation and land use maps. Soil erosion from each cell can then be obtained with these factors in GIS environment. The results show that the average cell soil loss is about 11.09 t/hayr in Pataha Creek Watershed at current land use pattern. The Sediment Delivery Distributed (SEDD) Model integrated with GIS was employed to determine the transport of eroded soil to river channel at the watershed scale and the result showed that the average cell sediment yield to the river channel is 4.71 t/hayr, about 42.4% of the total soil loss. Channel erosion was not included in this study. The impacts of no-till practices on soil loss and sediment yield to river channel at Pataha Creek Watershed were then studied by running the RUSLE under a scenario of all the agricultural land adopted no-till practices. The average cell soil loss decreased from 11.09 t/hayr to 3.10 t/hayr for the whole watershed and from 17.67 t/hayr to 3.89 t/hayr for croplands under no-till scenario. The average cell sediment yield to river channel decreased from 4.71 t/hayr to 1.49 t/hayr for the entire watershed and from 7.11 t/hayr to 1.55 t/hayr for cropland under no-till scenario. The contribution of cropland decreased from 92.4% to 72.8% for soil loss and from 87.4% to 60.1% for sediment yield to the river channel if all the cropland in the Pataha Creek Watershed adopted no-till practice. These modeled results are consistent with other studies either in this region or other regions.

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