In order to improve water quality and protect drinking water, researchers at the St. Joseph River Watershed in Indiana are working to identify best management practices that will reduce soil erosion and the amount of nutrients and chemicals in surface water runoff.

The research area includes a variety of crop and soil types that undergo different agricultural and water management practices. Characterizing water quality in runoff from different site conditions and agricultural treatments will help identify which land management practices are most effective at protecting water resources.

In order to characterize the relationship between water quality, weather, site conditions, and management practices, a network of automated, real-time monitoring stations was installed within the watershed.

Data informs BMPs in Watershed Monitoring

Every 60 minutes, radio telemetry data logging systems from NexSens transmit soil, weather, and solar radiation data from numerous remote sites to a centralized base station computer at a laboratory. This data is analyzed in conjunction with water chemistry data from samples collected by ISCO samplers during rain events. NexSens data logging systems are designed to trigger ISCO samplers based on user-defined parameter variables.

Data from the monitoring sites is automatically collected, exported, and posted to the USDA-ARS National Soil Erosion Research Lab datacenter. NexSens iChart software allows data to be automatically exported in multiple ODBC-compliant database formats, including Oracle, MySQL, Excel, and Access.

Researchers at the St. Joseph River Watershed Initiative, USDA – Agricultural Research Service, Purdue University, and other associated agencies have open access to the real-time datacenter to view, analyze, and share data.


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