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2012 Annual Report Middle Bayou Macon MRBI Success Story

2012 Annual Report - Controlling the Flow ... Reducing Sediment, Nitrogen and Phosphorus in Middle Bayou Macon Watershed

Landowners and the environment in the Middle Bayou Macon Watershed are seeing improvements in water quality, soil erosion, wildlife habitat and stream habitats while maintaining agricultural productivity.

Through the use of conservation practices such as nutrient management, irrigation pipelines, water control structures and tail water recovery systems, the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus entering water bodies in the 2,045 square mile project area is being reduced.

Nutrient management is being applied on 3,170 acres in the project area. By performing soil tests, the proper amount and placement of fertilizer is resulting in fewer nutrients entering ditches, streams and waterways. Farms are also benefiting by reducing their fertilizer costs.

Since the project began in 2011, 95 contracts have been written on 19,760 acres for more than $4.6 million.

For the Baxter Land Company in Desha County, Ark., major concerns are soil erosion, water conservation and soil sterilization due to high salt content in irrigation wells.

These issues are being resolved by capturing surface water through a tailwater recovery system, installing underground pipelines and pumping stations through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative project.

Monitoring systems are also set up on a Discovery Farm in the project area to evaluate the effectiveness of the practices. So far, results show cleaner water and less nitrogen and phosphorus leaving the fields. Productivity has also increased thanks to a reduction in salt buildup. The Discovery Farm is a University of Arkansas project that conducts research on commercial farms.