Effects of Agricultural Land Use, Climate Change, and Watershed Restoration On Water Quality and Biological Resources in the Mississippi River Basin: An Overview and Case Studies

Wednesday, September 11, 2013: 2:20 PM
Marriott Ballroom B (The Marriott Little Rock)
Yushun Chen , Aquaculture/Fisheries, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff, AR
Mike Daniels , 2Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, University of Arkansas, Little Rock, AR
Michele Reba , USDA Agricultural Research Service, National Sedimentation Laboratory, Jonesboro, AR
Andrew Sharpley , University of Arkansas Fayetteville, Fayetteville, AR
Jennifer Bouldin , Arkansas state university jonesboro, Jonesboro, AR
Tina G. Teague , Arkansas state university Jonesboro, Jonesboro, AR
Chris Henry , University of Arkansas, Stuttgart, AR
Pearl Daniel , University of Arkansas, Little Rock, AR
Neal Mays , University of Arkansas Fayetteville, Fayetteville, AR
Dennis Frame , University of Wisconsin-Madison Discovery Farms, Pigeon, WI
Dennis Busch , University of Wisconsin Platteville, Platteville, AR
Beatrix Haggard , LSU AgCenter, Winnsboro, LA
Agriculture plays a very important economic and social role in the Mississippi River Basin. Agriculture has been identified as a potential leading source of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) and sediment enrichment of water bodies within the basin and may be the cause of impaired water quality and biological resources. This study reviewed effects of agricultural activities, recent climate trends, watershed restoration efforts and conservation activities and programs on water quality and biological resources in the basin. Agricultural land use changes in states such as Arkansas, Wisconsin, and Louisiana indicate that corn production may be increasing all across the Mississippi River Basin. Extreme climate changes such as flooding and droughts have increased within the basin during the last several years and have the potential to significantly affect water and biological resources both locally and regionally A basin wide conservation initiative- the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) was launched by USDA-NRCS in 2010 to provide financial incentives ($380 million in 13 States) to producers and landowners to implement voluntary conservation practices that improve water quality, restore wetlands, enhance wildlife habitat and sustain agricultural profitability. These efforts will be described as well as watershed restoration case studies from three representative states (AR, WI, and LA).