Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Farming News .




FARM NEWS
Agricultural productivity loss as a result of soil and crop damage from flooding
by Staff Writers
Urbana IL (SPX) Feb 24, 2014


Bedrock escarpment in background and flooded Cache River (ancient Ohio River) alluvial bottomland soils next to gravel road near Temple Hill, Ill. Image courtesy University of Illinois

The Cache River Basin, which once drained more than 614,100 acres across six southern Illinois counties, has changed substantively since the ancient Ohio River receded. The basin contains a slow-moving, meandering river; fertile soils and productive farmlands; deep sand and gravel deposits; sloughs and uplands; and one of the most unique and diverse natural habitats in Illinois and the nation.

According to a recent University of Illinois study, the region's agricultural lands dodged a bullet due to the timing of the great flood of April 2011 when the Ohio River approached the record high of 332.2 feet above sea level.

"The floodwaters eventually drained back into the Ohio River and upper Mississippi River ultimately leaving approximately 1,000 acres of agricultural land flooded from a backup in the middle and lower Cache River Valley, which flooded the adjacent forest-covered alluvial soils and the slightly higher cultivated soils," said U of I researcher Ken Olson.

According to Olson, who has studied the effects of that particular flood extensively, these cultivated soils drained by the middle of June 2011 and were planted to soybeans. The floodwaters left a thin silt and clay deposition on the agricultural lands and crop residue when they receded. These coatings included significant amounts of soil organic carbon, microbes, and pathogens. After the coatings dried, they were incorporated into the topsoil layer of the alluvial soils using tillage equipment.

"Because the flooding occurred during the non-growing season for corn and soybeans, the mixing in of sediment into the topsoil prior to planting resulted in little significant loss of soil productivity, little soybean damage, or yield reduction on lands outside the levees along the Mississippi, Cache, and Ohio rivers," Olson said.

As a result of the record Ohio River flood level, floodwaters passed north through the Post Creek cut-off, then west through the 2002 Karnak breach and into the middle Cache River valley to the Diversion to Mississippi River, which was already above flood stage so the floodwaters continued west.

In late April, the Ohio River floodwaters then started to flood the towns of Olive Branch and Miller City, the Horseshoe Lake area, and surrounding agricultural lands. On May 2, 2011, the Len Small levee on the Mississippi River failed and resulted in the flooding of an additional 30,000 acres of Illinois public and private lands.

Illinois agricultural statistics recorded the harvest of 4,500 fewer acres of corn and 6,500 fewer acres of soybeans in Alexander County in 2011. Soybean production was 1,200,000 bushels in 2010 but dropped to 865,000 bushels in 2011 due to flooding from both the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and crop and soil damage. The floodwaters also scoured lands in some places and deposited sand in other locations.

Olson cautioned that, had winter wheat been planted outside the levees in the fall of 2010, the wheat crop would have drowned. "Illinois farmers are aware of the flooding potential, especially in the winter and early spring, so they don't plant winter wheat on unprotected bottomlands," he said. "Consequently, there was no crop loss outside the levees in April and May of 2011.

Local floodwater in the lower Cache River Valley, south of the Mississippi River Diversion and Dike, could not flow back into the Ohio River. It was blocked by the Cache River levee on the south side and by the closed gate at the Ohio River levee. Instead, water backed up and flooded forested and agricultural lands along the lower Cache River and north of the Cache River levee," Olson said.

Olson said that the damage to the land could have been much worse. "Land use changes, diversion ditches and levees, loss of wetlands and flood-holding capacity, internal channelization of the Cache River and tributaries, and an ever-changing climate have altered the hydrology of the valley, redistributed soil from fields and ditch banks into the river, and transported tons of sediment during flooding events into both the Ohio and Mississippi rivers," Olson said.

As the 2011 Ohio River floodwater reclaimed its ancient floodway, Olson says that the extent of these hydrologic changes and their social, economic, and environmental impacts have become more apparent. "The Great Flood of 2011 lends urgency to the reevaluation and implementation of the Cache River Watershed Resource Plan completed in 1995," Olson said.

He cited nine resource concerns that were identified: erosion, open dumping, private property rights, water quality, continuation of government farm conservation programs, Post Creek Cutoff stream bank erosion, open flow on the Cache River, dissemination of accurate and timely information throughout the watershed, and the impacts of wildlife on farming and vice versa.

"Most of these concerns still need to be addressed," Olson said. "Since that plan was created, there have been additional compromises/breaches that need to be repaired. As the repair and rebuilding of the valley infrastructure is undertaken, there will need to be a significant investment of human and financial resources to reduce the impacts of future catastrophic events."

"The 2011 Ohio River flooding of the Cache River Valley in southern Illinois," which was co-authored by Kenneth R. Olson and Lois Wright Morton, was published in a 2014 issue of the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation and can be found online here.

"Impacts of 2011 Len Small levee breach on private and public Illinois lands," co-authored by Kenneth R. Olson and Lois Wright Morton, was published in a 2013 issue of the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation and can be accessed online here.

.


Related Links
Agricultural at University of Illinois
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





FARM NEWS
French organic winemaker in court for shunning pesticides
Dijon, France (AFP) Feb 23, 2014
A winemaker in France's Burgundy region appears in court Monday for refusing to use pesticides in his organic vineyard despite a government order. Environmentalists have backed his refusal but other local winemakers have denounced the support campaign around him as full of "falsehoods" and defended their practices. Emmanuel Giboulot is being pursued by an arm of the agriculture ministry ... read more


FARM NEWS
NASA Satellites See Arctic Surface Darkening Faster

NASA Data Find Some Hope for Water in Aral Sea Basin

Glowing plants a sign of health

Surveying storm damage from space: UK satellite provides images of Somerset floods

FARM NEWS
Russia to deploy up to 7 Glonass ground stations outside of national territory in 2014

Northrop Grumman Awarded U.S. Military Contract for Navigation Systems

Galileo works, and works well

Sochi Olympic transport controlled from space using GLONASS satellite

FARM NEWS
Massive logging leaves deep scars in Eastern Europe

Google-backed database steps up fight on deforestation

How global forest-destroyers are turning over a new leaf

Biodiversity in production forests can be improved without large costs

FARM NEWS
Pond-dwelling powerhouse's genome points to its biofuel potential

Sustainable use of energy wood resources shows potential in North-West Russia

Italian farmers hail coming of biomethane production incentives

UK failing to harness its bioenergy potential

FARM NEWS
Sun shines on New York solar energy boom

Artificial leaf jumps developmental hurdle

Solar-induced hybrid fuel cell produces electricity directly from biomass

Australia to investigate renewable energy target

FARM NEWS
New research blows away claims that aging wind farms are a bad investment

Oil-rich Brazil aims high with wind-power targets

Britain wind farm proposal scaled back in face of opposition

Climate risk from wind farms is minimal: study

FARM NEWS
Societal Benefits of Fossil Energy to be at Least 50 Times Greater than Perceived Costs of Carbon

Goldman Sachs pulls out from Pacific coal export project

Colombia stops Drummond coal shipments over environmental row

China coal mine accidents kill 1,049 in 2013: govt

FARM NEWS
Wife of jailed Chinese Nobel winner in hospital

Questions over recovery of China's lost marbles

Ai Weiwei brushes off painter's smashing of $1m vase

Hong Kong officials criticise anti-Chinese protest




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.