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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: REDUCING NITRATE LOSSES FROM AGRICULTURAL FIELDS WITH SUBSURFACE DRAINAGE Title: The Extent of Cropland Drainage in the United States

Authors
item Jaynes, Dan
item James, David

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 8, 2007
Publication Date: November 8, 2007
Citation: Jaynes, D.B., James, D.E. 2007. The Extent of Cropland Drainage in the United States [CD-ROM]. In: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts, Nov. 4-8, 2007, New Orleans, LA.

Technical Abstract: Artificial drainage, whether surface or subsurface, profoundly affects the productivity of soils and the hydrology of watersheds. Modern production agriculture would not be possible without the extensive drainage network that has been built up starting in about the 1850's. While an unqualified success for increasing agricultural production, research over the past quarter century has illustrated the important role drainage plays in determining the quality of surface water where drainage is used. Because of its distributed nature, extended installation history, the invisibility of subsurface drains, and the lack of a systematic survey in recent years, the extent of drainage in the US is poorly known. In this study, we used the information contained in the NRCS STATSGO soils database in conjunction with the National Land Cover Dataset for 1992 compiled by the USGS to estimate the distribution and extent of drainage across the U.S. Various soil characteristics within the database such as drainage class, hydrologic class, and land capability class are compared to existing surveys and NRI data for determining the distribution of drainage. Results are summarized in a series of maps and tables giving percentage of drainage at both the state and county level.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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