Wisconsin Water Science Center
Rural Water Quality
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Edge-of-field monitoring focuses on identifying and reducing agricultural sources of excess nutrients which can threaten the health of streams, rivers, and lakes. Edge-of-field monitoring assesses the quantity and quality of agricultural runoff and evaluates the effectiveness of conservation practices that aim to reduce nutrient loss.
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative edge-of-field monitoring focuses on identifying and reducing agricultural sources of excess nutrients which threaten the health of the Great Lakes. The USGS supports these efforts by utilizing edge-of-field monitoring to assess the quantity and quality of agricultural runoff and evaluate conservation practices that aim to reduce sediment and nutrient loss....
Many Dane County, Wis., streams and lakes have been degraded due to excessive nutrients and sediment contributed primarily by agriculture and urbanization. The goal is to build a long-term base of streamflow, lake stage, and water-quality data essential for water-resource planning and assessment purposes for streams and lakes in Dane County, with a focus on the Yahara River Basin.
The USGS is cooperating with Discovery Farms to understand agriculture’s impact on the environment and help producers find ways to minimize their impact while remaining economically viable. Edge-of-field or subsurface tile monitoring stations measure runoff-event volume, including snowmelt, and collect samples which are analyzed for suspended sediment, phosphorus, nitrogen, and chloride.
The Upper Pecatonica River pilot project is testing targeted water-quality improvement strategies in small agricultural watersheds. The USGS is contributing by monitoring phosphorus and sediment at the watershed outlets, quantifying in-stream sources and sinks of phosphorus and sediment, and developing innovative approaches for quantifying sediment-related stream impairments and TMDLs.
Riparian grazing allows cattle free access to streams, but may accelerate erosion by the removal or trampling of vegetation. This study measured stream bank erosion, channel morphology, and stream substrate through seven experimental intensive-rotational pastures. It also evaluated the use of photo-electronic erosion pins (PEEPs) for measuring bank erosion in this type of geomorphic setting....
Western Lake Michigan Drainages Study Unit in Wisconsin and Michigan was part of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Water-Quality Assessment Program during Cycle 1 and 2. Research in this study unit included assessments of surface water and ecology, groundwater, urbanization effects, and mercury.