Title

The effect of CRP enrollment on sediment loads in two southern illinois streams

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title

Journal of Soil and Water Conservation

Publisher

Soil and Water Conservation Society

Publication Date

7-1-1994

Volume

49

Issue

4

First Page

407

Last Page

412

Abstract

The high annual cost of damages attributed to sediment justifies the importance of gaining a better understanding of the relationship between the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and stream sediment loads. This relationship was studied for two watersheds within the Cache River basin of extreme southern Illinois. CRP enrollments of 15.6% and 26.5% of all cropland in the Big Creek (80.29 km2; 31 mi2) and Cypress Creek (62.16 km2; 24 mi2) watersheds resulted in estimated decreases in erosion of 24% and 37%, respectively. Despite this, it was estimated using path analysis (a two-step regression analysis) that a negligible 0.0125% and 0.265% decrease in sediment load occurred in these streams in the period 1986–1988. These negative results, however, should be viewed in the context of temporal and spatial considerations. First, studies of drainage basin sediment dynamics imply that reductions in suspended sediment in response to CRP enrollments are likely to be delayed for a considerable period as in- and near-stream sediments are remobilized. Second, few of the CRP enrollments were in near-stream locations where hydrologic theory indicates they would be most effective in trapping and stabilizing existing near-stream sediments.

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