All events are in Central time unless specified.

MS Thesis Defense - Craig Adams

The Impact of Land Use on Nitrate Movement and Storage in the Vadose Zone of the Hastings’ Well Head

9:00 am – 10:00 am
Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center Room: 3302
2021 Transformation Drive
Lincoln Ne 68508
Dan Snow,
Measurement of accumulated nitrate in the vadose is critical for predicting whether changing surface activities are impacting nitrate leaching to groundwater beneath agricultural fields. This research investigated the occurrence and movement of nitrate over time using deep vadose zone soil cores collected from the Hastings, NE Well Head Protection Area (WHPA). Profiles were generated from cores collected from urban and irrigated farmland and compared to a previous study done at the same locations. Sampling previously collected sites allow for direct comparisons of current and historical nitrate-N profiles, potential movement, and can provide a method for evaluating effects of changing land use at the surface. Cumulative nitrate in the top 65 ft for urban irrigated lawns, pivot irrigated farmland, and gravity irrigated farmland had an average of 320, 540, and 700 total lbs-N/acre respectively. In farmland where irrigation changed from gravity to pivot application there was an average reduction of 170 lbs-N/acre in the top 55 ft of the profile over a five-year time span. This observation supports the use of sprinkler irrigation for more uniform water application, reducing potential leaching at the head and tail rows of gravity irrigated fields. While future studies are still needed, the importance of vadose zone monitoring in evaluating and protecting groundwater is beneficial in determining connections between surface activities and the underlying groundwater.

Download this event to my calendar