Research Program at the USDA-ARS National Sedimentation Laboratory: Addressing Agricultural and Natural Resource Management

Author(s): Locke, M.

The USDA-ARS National Sedimentation Laboratory, Oxford, MS, (“Sed Lab”) has served for 50 years as a center for research on sediment and erosion issues and is currently the lead USDA-ARS facility addressing (1) watershed erosion and sedimentation processes, and (2) watershed ecological functions as impacted by agricultural practices. The Sed Lab consists of two research units: (1) Water Quality and Ecology, and (2) Watershed Physical Processes. The research program emphasizes interdisciplinary studies dealing with physical, chemical, and biological processes related to natural resources in agricultural watersheds, and assessing strategies for sustaining and enhancing the integrity and function of agro-ecosystems. Specific topics of study include: (1) soil erosion, transport and deposition of sediment in watersheds including stream stability and bank protection; (2) agricultural practice and stream structure impacts on water quantity, water quality, and ecosystem services; (3) movement and fate of chemicals within the landscape; (4) ecosystem integrity of streams and adjacent riparian zones, lakes and wetlands; and (5) processes controlling surface and groundwater movement. The NSL also serves as the lead research facility in the Lower Mississippi River Basin for the USDA-ARS Long Term Agro-ecosystem Research (LTAR) network.

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