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Vegetative Barriers affect Surface Water Quality leaving Edge-of-Field Drainage Pipes in the Mississippi Delta

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

Citation:  Pp. 454-465 in Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Environmental Regulations: Proceedings of the March 11-13, 2002 Conference, (Fort Worth, Texas, USA)  701P0102.(doi:10.13031/2013.7596)
Authors:   Sammie Smith, Jr., Seth M. Dabney, and Charles M. Cooper
Keywords:   water quality, BMPs, field drainage, TMDLs, watersheds, pesticides, nutrients, sediment, runoff

Modified edge-of-field surface drainage pipes [slotted-board riser (SBR) pipes and slotted-inlet (SI) pipes] in the Beasley Lake watershed within the long-term, multi-agency Mississippi Delta MSEA (Management Systems Evaluation Area) project are being compared for their effectiveness in improving edge-of-field water quality. The SBR pipes have boards installed to impound water during the winter. Pipes [46-56 cm diameter (18-22)] are instrumented to facilitate automated collection of field runoff on a flow proportional basis. Instrumentation is relatively simple and compact, and involves an area-velocity flow logger and a small automated composite runoff sampler. The configuration is significantly less costly and less labor intensive than the traditional instrumentation involving a flume, larger instrument shelter (typically 1.2 m x 1.8 m or larger), flow-measuring device (typically a stage recorder), and full-size sampler. Runoff is being analyzed for pesticides, nutrients, and sediment concentrations. Discharge from pipes with and without upslope stiff grass hedges [switch grass (Panicum virgatum, Alamo variety)] are being compared from fields planted with no-tillage to Roundup-Ready Bt cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). As this research is only recently underway, the purpose of the paper is to describe in detail the instrumentation, site setup, and treatments, as well as to present some early findings. The results of this research are expected to help the development of new tools, which may offer alternatives for runoff remediation and improve TMDL development accuracy.

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