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Lakebed sediment cut by farming practices.

Lakebed Sediment Cut by Farming Practices

Soil losses from farms around Mississippi's Moon Lake have dropped off significantly as farmers change to crops requiring less tillage. That has meant a cleaner, healthier life for the lake, a 4-square-mile body of water along the Mississippi River.

An ARS study of farm practices and 30 years of sediment deposit records documented how less intensive cropping practices can improve water quality.

Scientists found that from 1954 to 1965, about 70 percent of the lake had more than 1 inch of sediment deposited each year. But then farmers switched from cotton to soybeans and rice, which require less tillage.

Over the next 20 years, about 86 percent of the lake had less than an inch of sediment per year. This is one of the first long-term studies that proves how changing to less intensive cropping practices can greatly improve the water quality and aquatic habitat downstream.
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Title Annotation:Moon Lake, Mississippi
Author:Becker, Hank
Publication:Agricultural Research
Date:Nov 1, 1991
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