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Soil Erosion, Floodplain Sedimentation, and Agricultural Sustainability Over Centennial Time Scales

This project examines patterns of soil erosion and floodplain sedimentation in agricultural landscapes. Soil erosion is a significant environmental challenge facing 21st century society. This project takes advantage of an agricultural setting in which landscape patterns have persisted over ~700 years, providing an opportunity to test prevailing models of erosion and improve the scientific understanding of erosion and downstream sediment transfer. We construct high-resolution records of human induced sedimentation at a range of spatial scales representing watersheds from 1 to 1000 square kilometers. These fluvial archives include sedimentological, geochemical, and paleoecological data, and are supplemented by shallow geophysical surveys. The project will will improve the understanding of hydrologic and sedimentologic connectivity, fluvial responses to anthropogenic disturbance, and spatio-temporal distributions of agricultural legacy sediments.