Prairies Water Management on Corps Lands
ENGINEER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER VICKSBURG MS
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The purpose of this technical note is to identify and describe how prairie lands affect water quality, quantity, and yield into the receiving bodies of streams, rivers, and lakes. The physical and biological processes are described in the context of the functions prairies provide in maintaining water quality and quantity 1 filtration, 2 soil formation, 3 nutrient cycling, and 4 controlling water runoff. This note also recommends best management practices BMPs including site conversion of fallow land, controlled grazing, control of invasive species, and brush control. BMPs can improve the function of prairies in capturing overland flow of water and reducing runoff, sediment trapping, and control of non-point source pollution. Understanding these natural processes and how prairies function to improve water quality, and balance water yield, will demonstrate why prairie grasslands are critical to the sustainable management of Corps lakes and waterways. This technical note is a product of the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Program EMRRP work unit titled PrairieGrassland Ecosystems on Corps Projects, as described in Martin and Peloquin 2005.