Evaluating the Variability of Sediment and Nutrient Loading from Crop and Cattle Fields Located in North Mississippi

Author(s): Guzman, S.; Salazar, G.; Diaz-Ramirez, J.; Schauwecker, T.

Excess nutrients are known as a primary problem facing Gulf of Mexico estuaries and coastal waters, leading to nuisance algal blooms, depletion of dissolved oxygen, and other water quality impairments. Soil and nutrient losses encourage siltation and eutrophication in Gulf of Mexico waters. Soil and nutrient exported from agricultural fields into water bodies in Mississippi is a major environmental concern by local, state, and federal agencies. This poster presents runoff and sediment & nutrient loads from two fields in north Mississippi: a 8.4-ha cattle drainage area located on the agricultural research property of the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station (MAFES), adjacent to Mississippi State University (MSU); and a 11.3-ha crop drainage area located in Leflore County. The cattle field is monitored since 2011 by researchers from MSU Departments of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Landscape Architecture. At the outlet of the cattle field, MSU researchers are using a pressure transducer and automatic sampler to monitoring water depth and water quality, respectively. Field data (discharge and sediments & nutrient concentrations) from the crop drainage area were collected by the U.S Geological Survey from 1996 to 1999. The goal of this research is quantify sediment and nutrient loads by storm events yielded from fields managed with crops (soybeans and cotton) and beef production grazing pasture. Currently, we are computing and analyzing sediment and nutrient loads by storm events and planning to show results at the conference.

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