Everyone lives in a watershed. A watershed is the land area that contributes water to a location, usually a stream, pond, lake or river. Everything that we do on the surface of our watershed impacts the water quality of our streams, wetlands, ponds, lakes and rivers. What happens in one locality affects other downstream areas.
Focused watershed projects bring together the combined resources and knowledge of many agencies and organizations to solve local watershed issues. Focused watershed projects that involve University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension include the following. (By clicking on the linked titles you may go to the individual project Web site.)
Watershed planning and management comprise an approach to protecting water quality and quantity that focuses on the whole watershed. This approach is necessary due to the nature of polluted runoff, which in most watersheds is the biggest contributor to water pollution. Polluted runoff is a caused by a variety of land use activities including development, transportation and agriculture, and may originate anywhere in the watershed. Watershed planning and management involves a number of activities including:
Sediment, nutrient, and pesticide losses in runoff are major pollutants of surface waters in the Midwest. Targeting of Watershed Management Practices for Water Quality Protection addresses best management practices in watersheds or landscapes to maximize the impact of investments in water quality protection. This full-color, 23-page document is intended as a resource for those who advise on or practice land and water management.
Research has shown that concentrations of nitrate - nitrogen have accumulated in the groundwater beneath areas where irrigation is intense and where the soils are permeable allowing for leaching of nitrogen fertilizer. Leaching is most severe for surface irrigation systems used to irrigate sandy soils. The Platte River Valley and Eastern Sandhills have been most severely affected.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Subsurface Drip Irrigation, EC776 (PDF, 1.2 MB; 8 full color pages) Discusses subsurface drip irrigation, including the advantages of water application efficiency and savings, energy savings and potential yield increases and the disadvantges of initial investment, system capacity, design restrictions and emitter clogging.