The Morgan Creek watershed on the Delmarva Peninsula is one of five watersh...
At a typical study site, several methods are used to collect water and chem...
Data Collection in the Morgan Creek Watershed, 2003–2004
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is studying five watersheds across the Nation to better understand how natural factors and agricultural management practices (AMPs) affect the transport of water and chemicals. Natural factors include climate and landscape (soil type, topography, geology), and AMPs include practices related to tillage, irrigation, and chemical application. The study approach is similar in each watershed so that we can compare and contrast the results and more accurately predict conditions in other agricultural settings.
The Morgan Creek watershed on the Delmarva Peninsula is one of five watersheds selected by the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program for a special study of agricultural chemicals and water quality.
Morgan Creek and the other four watersheds represent nationally important agricultural settings (chemical use, crops, and AMPs) and natural settings (climate, geology, topography, and soils). Morgan Creek, which is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, is representative of corn and soybean row cropping in the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Other features relevant to this study:
At a typical study site, several methods are used to collect water and chemical samples from the air, soil, surface water, and ground water. After being applied to the land surface, agricultural chemicals can move upward into the atmosphere, downward through the soil to shallow ground water and underlying aquifers, eventually discharging to streams, or run off across the land into streams, eventually moving downstream to reservoirs and coastal waters. This process can take days, weeks, or even decades if water moves underground through the ground-water system.
Data Collection in the Morgan Creek Watershed, 2003–2004
|What kind of data||Why the data are collected||How often|
|Meteorological data, including rainfall, wind speed, solar radiation, and air temperature. Soil temperature and moisture||To determine amount of precipitation and how much water from land surface reaches the water table, how much is lost to evapotranspiration||Continuously for 2 years|
|Amount of streamflow at Morgan Creek near Kennedyville, MD, gaging station||To interpret water-quality data correctly (the amount of water in streams affects chemical concentrations)||Continuously since 1951 (real-time data available at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/md/nwis/uv?01493500)|
|Quality of stream water, runoff water, rain water1||To quantify the transport and behavior of natural and agricultural chemicals||Several times a year (>14 samples) for 2 years, with intensive sampling during application season|
|Ground-water levels in wells||To determine direction of ground-water flow, which affects transport of chemicals||At least quarterly in some wells, continuously in others for at least 1 year|
|Quality of ground water, soil water, and shallow water in and around streambed/riparian zone1||To quantify the transport and behavior of natural and agricultural chemicals||At least quarterly for 1 year|
|Quality of sediment in streambed and soils in agricultural fields1||To quantify the storage, behavior, and transport of water and chemicals in the soils and sediment||At least once during study|
1In this study, water-quality and sediment-quality data include concentrations of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous), pesticides and pesticide breakdown products, and natural constituents and properties, including major ions (calcium, magnesium, chloride, etc.), organic carbon, dissolved oxygen, and temperature.
We are working with local growers and land owners to gain access to study sites. We also need information about the watershed and about current as well as historical agricultural management practices—past practices also affect concentrations of agricultural chemicals in ground and surface water.
We will report the findings of the study in public meetings and in publications. These findings will provide information that will be useful for improving agricultural management locally and nationally, and will guide future studies in other watersheds.
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
Maryland Dept. of Agriculture, Kent County Soil Conservation District
University of Maryland Cooperative Extension, Kent County office
Tracy Hancock, Lead Scientist, Morgan Creek study (804) 261-2618, firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Capel, Team Leader, National study (612) 625-3082, email@example.com
Judy Denver, Project Chief, Potomac-Delmarva NAWQA study unit (302) 734-2506 ext 229 firstname.lastname@example.org
NAWQA Program http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa
The USGS provides reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.
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Last modified: Tuesday, February 18 2014, 12:53:44 PM