Travis Howell, cooperator with Missouri Corn
Growers, surveys a section of Long Branch Creek in Missouri. The creek receives
flow from Goodwater Creek Watershed and flows into Mark Twain Reservoir. Data
from this site, the Goodwater Creek stations, and 11 other sites around the
reservoir will be uploaded into STEWARDS. Click the image for more
information about it.
Missouri Watershed Research Helps Guide Farmers'
October 11, 2006
More than 40 percent of the
freshwater bodies in the United States are not currently meeting water quality
standards. In north-central Missouri, the Goodwater Creek watershed
occasionally has high levels of the agricultural herbicide atrazine. This is
mainly due to the high-runoff potential of soils within the watershed, and to
atrazine's tendency to remain near the soil surface, where it can be easily
After much study, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists at the
Systems and Water Quality Research Unit in Columbia, Mo., have shown that
pesticide contamination can be reduced if growers in the region adopt runoff
control practices and use pesticides that can be incorporated into the soil or
applied at low rates.
Sadler, the Columbia unit has generated more than 30 years' worth of
historical watershed data that's now being used to determine the impact of
conservation practices on water, soil and air quality and wildlife habitat.
Such data are critical to the outcome of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP).
Funded by ARS, USDA's Natural Resources
Conservation Service, and other federal and state agencies, CEAP was
instituted in 2003 to provide the Office of Management and Budget,
lawmakers, farming and conservation communities, and others with measured
evidence of the environmental effects and economic benefits derived from
decades of conservation efforts.
This information is critical to scientifically documenting the local and
national benefits of conservation practices for improving the quality of U.S.
freshwater resources. Sadler is helping set up an ARS Web-based data system
called STEWARDS (Sustaining the Earths WatershedsAgricultural
Research Data System). It should be helpful to agricultural producers in
determining which conservation practices are the most economical for achieving
desired environmental benefits.
This week, Sadler will be discussing updates on CEAP and STEWARDS at a
workshop organized by the Soil and Water
Conservation Society, "Managing Agricultural Landscapes for
Environmental Quality: Strengthening the Science Base," in Kansas City,
ARS is the USDAs chief scientific