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Threats to the Lugert-Altus Irrigation District: Untangling the Effects of Drought, Land Use Change, and Groundwater Pumping 

Tyson E. Ochsner, Yohannes Tadesse Yimam, and Erik S. Kruger

As of October 1, 2014, Lake Altus-Lugert, the primary water supply for the Lugert-Altus Irrigation District in southwest Oklahoma, was only 10% full, was recovering from a golden algae bloom, which killed all fish in the lake, and has not contained enough water to produce an irrigated cotton crop since 2010. Dr. Ochsner's team will investigate the relative importance of these various contributing factors (drought, upstream land use change, changing climate, and groundwater development) to better understand the drivers of change in this regionally-significant watershed.

Quantifying Streambank Erosion and Phosphorus Load for Watershed Assessment and Planning

Dan Storm and Aaron Mittelstet

Sediment and nutrients are two primary pollutants to surface waters. In some watersheds streambank erosion is the main source of sediment. Excess sediment affects the water chemistry, aquatic organisms and the water clarity in our streams and reservoirs. A summary of the benefits from the proposed research include: 1) Provide local, state and federal agencies with accurate estimates of streambank erosion and phosphorus contributions for the Barren Fork Creek watershed, 2) Improve TMDLs and watershed based plans, 3) Test and assess a model that will be applicable to other watersheds throughout the world, and 4 ) Provide recommendations to watershed modelers and managers.


Optimizing the Economic Value of Water from the Ogallala used for Irrigation 

Jason Warren, Rick Kochenower, Jody Campiche, Rodney Jones, and Art Stoecker

The Ogallala aquifer is a vital resource for the entire economy of the Oklahoma Panhandle. Agricultural irrigation is the primary use (86%) of water in the region overlaying the Ogallala aquifer. This water is used to produce a variety of crops, primarily corn. The objectives are to evaluate the yield and water use efficiency of corn, sorghum and wheat under a range of irrigation capacities and evaluate the profitability and production risks of these crops such that producers can make sound decisions on the utilization of their water resources.


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