Student Focus: Graduate students Sagar Shrestha (left) and Jack Farrelly (right) at Aquaculture and Fisheries Center of University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff conducting water quality and fish community monitoring in an agricultural stream, southeast Arkansas, the Lower Mississippi River Basin
This is a long-term stream ecosystem restoration/ monitoring project funded by USDA. Since 2010, researchers in Arkansas have been working with landowners in the Mississippi River Delta to implement agricultural best management conservation practices (e.g., water and nutrient management, no till, wetlands creation) to protect soils and prevent /reduce sediment and nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) loads into adjacent streams and eventually into the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico. This is a research effort with representative research teams from 13 Mississippi River Basin States. In southeast Arkansas, researchers have conducted a three-tiered monitoring (i.e., edge-of-field, adjacent stream, and 12-digit HUC watershed outlet) of water quality (mainly sediments and nutrients) and biological communities (algal biomass, macroinvertebrates, and fish communities). The overall goal is to study the long-term benefits of agricultural conservation activities on improving stream water quality and biological conditions in the Mississippi River Basin and mitigating the hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico.