Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Modeling Erosion Damage From Ephemeral Gullies

Date:
July 18, 2008
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Ephemeral gullies are common features on agricultural landscapes. Concentrated water flows can erode cropland soils and carve out these small drainage ditches, which then transport field runoff laden with eroded sediments into nearby streams. In fact, these gullies may lead to soil losses that exceed soil losses from sheet or rill erosion.

Tilling in areas prone to ephemeral gully erosion can significantly increase soil erosion, according to new ARS research.
Credit: Photo courtesy of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA.

Ephemeral gullies are common features on agricultural landscapes. Concentrated water flows can erode cropland soils and carve out these small drainage ditches, which then transport field runoff laden with eroded sediments into nearby streams. In fact, these gullies may lead to soil losses that exceed soil losses from sheet or rill erosion.

Related Articles


Hydraulic engineer Carlos V. Alonso and agricultural engineer Ronald L. Bingner work at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) National Sedimentation Laboratory in Oxford, Mississippi. They teamed up with University at Buffalo scientists Lee Gordon and Sean Bennett and Natural Resources Conservation Service agricultural engineer Fred Theurer to evaluate the effects of ephemeral gullies on erosion.

Ephemeral gullies are typically filled in throughout the year by agricultural tillage practices. These tillage practices can remove or hide gullies, but the channels often reappear in the same location after subsequent rainstorms. These new channels easily erode the recently tilled fields and start another cycle of gully development and topsoil reduction that can expand across production fields.

The team developed a model to evaluate how tillage practices can affect the formation and evolution of ephemeral gullies and subsequent soil erosion rates. They used historical precipitation data, on-site field observations, and recently developed watershed modeling technology to simulate the effect of tillage practices on long-term ephemeral gully growth and evolution.

During a five-month growing season, tillage activities were simulated using two alternatives: once-a-year conventional tillage and no-till management practice. The collaborators applied the model to replicate a 10-year production span.

Their findings suggest that, on average, tillage in areas prone to ephemeral gully erosion can produce significantly higher soil erosion rates compared to those same regions under no-till management practices. Simulated cumulative ephemeral gully soil erosion rates for the tilled fields were anywhere from 240 percent to 460 percent higher than soil erosion rates from the untilled fields.

The negative effects of tillage simulated in these watershed models reinforce the advantages of using soil conservation technologies such as no-till planting and other reduced tillage management practices.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Modeling Erosion Damage From Ephemeral Gullies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080712142820.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2008, July 18). Modeling Erosion Damage From Ephemeral Gullies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080712142820.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Modeling Erosion Damage From Ephemeral Gullies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080712142820.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Around the World Take Flight

Birds Around the World Take Flight

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 22, 2014) An imperial eagle equipped with a camera spreads its wings over London. It's just one of the many birds making headlines in this week's "animal roundup". Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) The Houston Zoo released video of a male baby okapi. Okapis, also known as the "forest giraffe", are native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Video is mute from source. (Nov. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins