Modeling Nitrate Movement and Crop Growth for Irregular Subsurface Drainage Networks

EPA Grant Number: U915774
Title: Modeling Nitrate Movement and Crop Growth for Irregular Subsurface Drainage Networks
Investigators: Christopher, Keli I.
Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: December 1, 2000 through December 1, 2003
Project Amount: $99,146
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Other Engineering , Engineering and Environmental Chemistry


The objective of this research project is to augment a water quality model that currently predicts subsurface drainage flow for parallel or random tile networks, with a crop- growth model to track crop growth and subroutines to track the movement and transformation processes of nitrate.


This study will augment a model that integrates finite element-based 1- and 2-dimensional subsurface models with a surface flow simulation model. Geographic information systems will be used to describe the spatial inputs of the watershed and store data to be used in the external programs that actually perform the simulation processes. Two fields have been chosen to study through the year 2002. One field is planted in corn, and the other in soybeans. The data that are being collected for this study include: flow volume, nitrate, ammonium, total nitrogen, orthophosphate, and total phosphorus.

The nature of this research project is to have the model output closely resemble the data obtained from the field sites. Based on previous research, we expect the model to predict subsurface flow fairly well. Once the data for 2002 are completed, we should have a better idea of how well the chemical and crop growth components model natural conditions.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, subsurface drainage, irregular drainage networks, crop growth, nitrate movement., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Environmental Chemistry, Monitoring/Modeling, Ecology and Ecosystems, Environmental Engineering, drainage flow, nitrate, ecological models, flow and transport, crop growth

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2001
  • 2002
  • Final