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Wednesday, April 11 • 10:15am - 10:30am
SYMPOSIA-12: Patterns and Drivers of Hydrologic Alteration in the Agriculturally-dominated Lower Mississippi River Basin

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AUTHORS: Lindsey Yasarer, Jason Taylor, JR Rigby, Martin Locke – USDA Agricultural Research Service

ABSTRACT: The Lower Mississippi River Basin (LMRB) is one of 18 sites being studied as part of the United States Department of Agriculture Long-Term Agroecosystem Research Network. The LMRB extends from Cairo, Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico and approximately 40% of the land area is cultivated. This rich agricultural landscape accounts for two-thirds of the total rice acreage and one-fourth of the cotton acreage in the United States. High agricultural production is sustained in part with groundwater irrigation from the Mississippi Alluvial Aquifer. Decreases in groundwater levels have been documented in the region as a result of increased row crop irrigation. Consequently, surficial hydrology has also been affected. This study utilizes a landscape-level approach to understand the relationships between land-use and management patterns throughout space and time, and long-term trends in surface hydrology records in both agricultural and non-agricultural watersheds. Preliminary results indicate that hydrologic patterns in surface water systems have been altered with decreasing trends in baseflow and increasing trends in extreme low flow. Simultaneously, agricultural census records indicate an increasing trend in irrigated cropland acreage and crop yield in agricultural watersheds. Through systems analysis of agronomic, hydrologic, and climatic data at the regional and watershed scales we can tease out patterns and understand drivers of landscape-wide change.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 10:15am - 10:30am CDT
Adams Room

Attendees (2)