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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Nutrient and Sediment Discharge from Agricultural Watersheds in Oklahoma1


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 4 No. 3, p. 331-336
    Received: Oct 10, 1974

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  1. Alan Olness,
  2. S. J. Smith,
  3. E. D. Rhoades and
  4. R. G. Menzel2



Seven cropland watersheds and four rangeland watersheds in central Oklahoma were monitored for surface hydrology and discharge of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment over a 1 year period. Precipitation and runoff were much above normal during the study. Sediment losses from the continuously grazed rangeland watersheds ranged from 18 to 23 metric tons/ha during the study. None of the sediment losses from the other watersheds exceeded 10 metric tons/ha.

Total nutrients discharged in runoff ranged from 2 to 15 kg/ha of N and 1 to 11.5 kg/ha of P. Flow-weighted mean concentrations ranged from 1 to 6 ppm of total N, 0.2 to 1.9 ppm of nitrate-N, 0.5 to 4.8 ppm of total P, and 0.04 to 0.9 ppm of soluble P. Runoff losses of soluble inorganic nitrogen were generally less than those quantities received in rainfall. Concentrations of soluble phosphorus in runoff from the cropland watersheds were much greater than from the rangeland watersheds. Losses of fertilizer nitrogen and phosphorus did not exceed 5% of the most recent applications, although surface runoff was 4- to 10-fold greater than that observed in previous years.

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