The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) was established to accelerate ecosystem restoration in the Great Lakes by confronting the most serious treats to the region, such as nonpoint source pollution, toxic sediments, and invasive species. Much of the effort associated with GLRI is being placed near the most impacted areas in the Great Lakes Basin. Priority Watersheds have been targeted by the Regional Working Group’s Phosphorus Reduction Work Group. These Priority Watersheds (Fox/Green Bay, Saginaw, Genessee, and Maumee) are characterized by having a high density of agricultural land use and have ecosystem impairments that have been clearly identified. The outlet of each of the Priority Watersheds is being monitored by the USGS for water quality, and nutrient and sediment loading to the Great Lakes. These data will help determine the effectiveness of the efforts in the watershed for reducing nonpoint source pollution, including phosphorus runoff. Each of the Priority Watersheds covers a large geographic area making it difficult to target the effectiveness of the various conservation efforts that are being conducted in selected areas within each of their large watersheds. Therefore, three sub-watersheds that are nested within these four Priority Watersheds have been identified for prioritized, coordinated reduction efforts to allow the effects of these efforts to be more easily observed. Within these Priority Watersheds, monitoring will be conducted at the sub-watershed (~HUC12), edge-of-field, and subsurface-tile scale. The edge-of-field and subsurface-tile monitoring stations will be targeted to those areas within each watershed that will be directly affected by the conservation efforts. These sites will allow for a rapid assessment of conservation efforts as the water quality from those locations are immediately affected by land-use and management changes and represent the major pathways for non-point pollution to enter the stream. Relationships between the smaller to sub-watershed scale will help develop an understanding on how conservation efforts may impact the watershed as a whole. To evaluate the success of GLRI efforts in reducing phosphorus runoff from the three prioritized sub-watersheds, phosphorus export from these areas needs to be quantified and compared with target goals established for each area.
The principle objective is to develop an understanding of the effect of differing agriculture practices on the quality and quantity of runoff water from monitored farmland, including edges of fields and subsurface drains and the effect of this water on streams receiving runoff water.
After this spring we should have 22 EOF sites (surface and tile), 6 ~HUC 12 stream sites, and support for 4 tributary monitoring sites. The Genesee River watershed will have 1~HUC 12 stream site, 2~paired farm fields and 1~paired drainage tile sites for a total of 7 monitoring stations.
This project relies on the dedication of the individual center staff to collect the data and finalize the loads, with a lot of cross sharing of tips and techniques. This is an intense project that brings a lot of time sensitive work (storm chasing) as well as critical deadlines to have the data finalized and ready for review. I like to think that we are using this project to share methods, techniques, and experiences between centers as this project moves forward.
Farmers are being encouraged to adopt practices that reduce nutrient and sediment delivery from their farms in the Genesee River watershed. Nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen can cause harmful algal blooms in the nearshore areas of Lake Ontario and the Rochester Embayment. To help reduce this, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is providing additional funding for financial incentives to farmers through the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). This funding is available in Phosphorus Reduction Priority Watersheds. In the Genesee River basin, these include the Canaseraga Creek, Black Creek, and the Upper Genesee River subwatersheds. The first edge-of-field monitoring stations were installed in the Canaseraga Creek watershed, on a farm in mid-October, 2015. This installation is the result of a partnership between the a single local farmer, the U.S. Geological Survey who installs, maintains, and analyzes the data from these stations, the local NRCS field staff who designs and funds the conservation practices, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the overall lead for GLRI.
The field with the monitoring stations has long slopes that are typical of the watershed. The field is farmed with contour stripcropping, which is alternating strips of row crops between strips of alfalfa. Two edge of field monitoring stations have been installed at the lower end of the field. These stations will gather data on rainfall events, surface runoff from the field, and sample the runoff for analysis for several years to establish some baseline data. Then, a grassed waterway will be built above the east. Monitoring station to reduce soil erosion---the reductions in sediment and nutrient delivery there will be compared with those from the other (control) station. The result will be a measurement of the effectiveness of the grassed waterway for improving water quality.
The typical edge of field USGS monitoring station collects water levels, weather data, groundwater levels and temperature, and has the capability to collect samples, based on flow, automatically. Each site is custom made to fit the location and requires annual operations for data collection of water-quality and discharge measurements. The site would require field visits on a regular interval and may be required to be opened for potential tours for local farmers and interested colleagues.
The loads at the field scale are being computed for all individual events and combined to produce an annual load using excel. The individual storm concentration data is then run into GCLAS to produce daily and annual loads that are stored in the database (and compared to the spreadsheets) for use by the modeling component of the project. At the HUC12 stream scale we are currently running GCLAS to compute the loads, but going to be using the regression with our real-time water quality sensors to compare. At the tributary monitoring scale we are following the current method used by all sites.
Click on title to download individual files attached to this item.
“NYWS2 Edge of Field Station Groveland, NY”
“Hydrographs and Sampling”
“Edge of Field Merrimac Plate”
“Edge of Field Alfred Plate”
“Edge of Field Keshequa Plate”