Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Mock Village on Farmland Will Measure Runoff Effects on Water Quality

Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Mock Village on Farmland Will Measure Runoff Effects on Water Quality

Article excerpt

With funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is building a mock residential housing development on rolling farmland in Coshocton, Ohio, to find out what happens to streams and lakes as farmland is urbanized. U.S. EPA plans to use the results of this first fully controlled study of water runoff to create a national program in which runoff credits can be traded just as air pollution credits are now traded.

Each year, ARS hydraulic engineer James Bonta and colleagues at the agency's North Appalachian Experimental Watershed in Coshocton will increase "development" until it covers 40 percent of each of the four watersheds they are working on. The watersheds range in size from 1 to 7 acres.

Annual runoff from these watersheds has been monitored for many years, as has land use. Thus, long-term background data will be available for comparison as "urbanization" proceeds.

Development replaces soil and vegetation that once soaked up rainwater and snowmelt with the impervious surfaces of roofs and roads. …

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