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SWAT Application for Conservation Effects Assessment in the Southeastern Coastal Plain

Bosch, David D., Strickland, Tim, Sullivan, Dana G., Wauchope, Don, Lowrance, Richard, Potter, Tom
Paper 2005 no.052040
agricultural watersheds, coastal plains, Soil and Water Assessment Tool model, agricultural runoff, sediment yield, nonpoint source pollution, pesticide residues, nitrate nitrogen, conservation tillage, crop production, Gossypium hirsutum, cotton, infiltration (hydrology), stream flow, pollution control, Georgia
The Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was used to examine the impacts of alternate land management practices on water quantity and quality within a Coastal Plain Watershed. Runoff, sediment, and pesticide loadings were examined. SWAT simulations indicate a linear decrease in sediment and pesticide yields will be observed if conservation tillage is implemented on the cotton acreage within this watershed. For sediment, a 20% reduction in loss can be obtained through implementation of conservation tillage on 15% of the watershed area. SWAT simulations indicated that a 45% reduction in the simulated pesticides can be expected when the conservation practices are implemented on the same acreage. However, the model did simulate an increase in water yields from the watershed when these practices were implemented, likely due to increases in infiltration in the uplands. This increase in infiltration and subsequently streamflow could result in greater losses of soluble chemicals, nitrate in particular.