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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - Division S-6—Soil & Water Management & Conservation

Grass Barriers for Reduced Concentrated Flow Induced Soil and Nutrient Loss


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 68 No. 6, p. 1963-1972
    Received: Nov 24, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): blanco.16@osu.edu
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  1. Humberto Blanco-Canqui *a,
  2. C. J. Gantzerb,
  3. S. H. Andersonb and
  4. E. E. Albertsc
  1. a School of Natural Resources, The Ohio State Univ., 2021 Coffey Rd., Columbus, OH 43210-1085
    b Environmental Soil Sci., Univ. of Missouri-Columbia, 302 Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building, Columbia, MO 65211
    c USDA-ARS, 268 Agricultural Engineering Building, Columbia, MO 65211


Vegetative filter strips (FS) perform poorly for reducing losses of sediment and nutrients in concentrated flow. Stiff-stemmed grass barriers (B-FS) above the FS may be a companion treatment to improve the FS performance. This study evaluated the effectiveness of warm-season switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) barriers planted above fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) FS in reducing runoff water, sediment, N, and P losses in concentrated flow from an Aeric Vertic Epiaqualf on a 5% slope. Simulated rainfall was applied on plots consisting of a 1.5-m-wide by 8-m-long pollutant source area with an artificially constructed channel to concentrate surface runoff. The source area was bounded downslope by either an 8-m long fescue FS or 0.7 m of active or dormant barrier above a 7.3-m-long fescue FS. The B-FS treatment also reduced sediment loss by 91% while the FS reduced sediment by only 72% (P < 0.01). The B-FS also reduced sediment loss by 90%, whereas FS reduced sediment only 60% when inflow was added to the plots. The B-FS trapped 4.9 times more organic N, 2.3 times more NH4–N, and 3.7 times more particulate P than FS at 0.7 m (P < 0.01). Sediment and nutrient trapping increased significantly with FS length. Switchgrass barriers above the FS dispersed and temporarily ponded concentrated runoff, enabling increased sediment deposition. Barriers may be a potential conservation strategy for rehabilitation of lands affected with concentrated flow where traditional practices are inadequate.

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