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Long-Term Agroecosystem Research in the Central Mississippi River Basin: Goodwater Creek Experimental Watershed Flow Data

Claire Baffaut, E. John Sadler, Fessehaie Ghidey
Journal of environmental quality 2015 v.44 no.1 pp. 18-27
Internet, agricultural research, agroecosystems, atmospheric precipitation, claypan soils, cropping systems, data collection, databases, groundwater, growing season, hydrograph, land use, management systems, monitoring, overland flow, runoff, stream flow, streams, tillage, watersheds, Mississippi River
Flow monitoring in Goodwater Creek Experimental Watershed started in 1971 at three nested watersheds ranging from 12 to 73 km². Since then, runoff or stream flow has been measured at 14 plots, three fields, and 12 additional stream sites ranging from 0.0034 to 6067 km² in the Central Mississippi River Basin. Long-term data sets are important to document the changes resulting from anthropogenic and natural drivers. The data set presented here documents discharge across a range of catchment sizes in an area known for its high runoff potential. It constitutes the flow database of the Central Mississippi River Basin site of the Long-Term Agricultural Research network. Like the other sites of this network, data are accessible through the STEWARDS web interface (www.nrrig.mwa.ars.usda.gov/stewards/stewards.html). Here we (i) describe the data collection methods, (ii) document the data available at plot, field, and watershed scales, and (iii) provide the main characteristics of discharge. General characteristics of discharge per unit area for different cropping system management systems show that in this claypan soil setting, management and tillage of row crop systems do not affect surface flow during the growing season (April–October). Data from fields and stream sites show the dampening of peak flow values and lengthening of storm hydrographs caused by mixed land uses and longer times of concentration. Overall, stream flow accounts for a third of the precipitation, of which 80% is from surface runoff and 20% is from groundwater.