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
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.
The NexSens G2-RAIN Alert System incorporates a precision rain gauge with cellular data communication and real-time notifications.
The Vaisala WXT536 Multi-Parameter Weather Sensor simultaneously measures air temperature, humidity, pressure, rainfall and wind in a compact platform with optional heating.
The YOUNG Serial Output Wind Monitor combines the performance and durability of the standard Wind Monitor with a unique optical encoder direction transducer and serial output.
The Stevens HydraProbe soil moisture sensor provides simultaneous measurement of soil moisture, salinity, and temperature using a unique patented design.