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Title: Watershed scale impacts of buffers and upland conservation practices on agrochemical delivery to streams

Author: Franti, T.G.; Eisenhauer, D.E.; McCullough, M.C.; Stahr, L.M.; Dosskey, Mike G.; Snow, D.D.; Spalding, R.F.; Boldt, A.L.;

Date: 2004

Source: Proceedings of the 12-15 September 2004 Conference: Self sustaining solutions for streams, wetlands, and watersheds: p. 323-332

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Conservation buffers are designed to reduce sediment and agrichemical runoff to surface water. Much is known about plot and field scale effectiveness of buffers; but little is known about their - watershed scale impact. Our objective was to estimate the watershed scale impact of grass buffers by comparing sediment and agrichemical losses from two adjacent 141 - 165 hectare watersheds, one with conservation buffers and one without. Rainfall derived runoff events from 2002-2003 were monitored for water runoff, TSS, phosphorous and atrazine loss. A conservation-watershed included 0.8 km of grass buffers and 0.8 km of riparian forest buffer, ridge-tilled corn, corn-beans-alfalfa rotation, terraces and grassed waterways. A control watershed had no buffers, disk-tilled, continuous corn and grassed waterways. The same application rate and method for atrazine to corn was used in each watershed. Total rainfall during the April-June monitoring period was similar in 2002 and 2003; however, the conservation-watershed produced only 27 mm of runoff, compared to 47 mm from the control. Over two years, TSS and phosphorous losses per hectare were reduced by 97% and 95%, respectively, in the conservation-watershed. Atrazine loss per hectare was 57% less in the conservation watershed. A separation technique showed that for 2002 other conservation practices reduced TSS by 84% and buffers reduced TSS by an additional 13% compared to the control. Similarly, other conservation practices reduced atrazine losses by 29% and buffers accounted for an additional 31%. On a watershed scale buffers can add benefit to a conservation system.

Keywords: conservation buffers, runoff, atrazine, sediment, phosphorous, watershed

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Franti, T.G.; Eisenhauer, D.E.; McCullough, M.C.; Stahr, L.M.; Dosskey, Mike G.; Snow, D.D.; Spalding, R.F.; Boldt, A.L. 2004. Watershed scale impacts of buffers and upland conservation practices on agrochemical delivery to streams. Proceedings of the 12-15 September 2004 Conference: Self sustaining solutions for streams, wetlands, and watersheds: p. 323-332

 


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