- Author: Jeffrey P Mitchell
April 1, 2019
UC soil physics professors, Teamrat Ghezzehei of UC Merced and Jan Hopmans of UC Davis, along with UCM graduate students Samuel Araya and Jennifer Alvarez, joined CASI's Jeff Mitchell for a visit and research planning meeting at the NRI Project field in Five Points, CA where they are working to characterize soil hydraulic properties and processes in the long-term study site. The group has a research award from California's Department of Water Resources that is enabling them to monitor key soil physical properties including infiltration, water retention, hydraulic conductivity, aggregate stability, and bulk density and their potential relation to increased water use efficiency and system resilience. The work is becoming part of the PhD programs for both Ayala and Alvarez. DWR support has enabled the students to collect samples and to analyze them in the lab of Ghezzehei at UCM. In addition, an in-depth effort has been underway at the site to document soil water depletion under winter cover crops and fallow conditions now for three years. In this most recent site visit and planning meeting that was held on April 1st, the team hosted Jan Hopmans who has been a partner on the work since it was started, but who had not yet visited the study site. Efforts will now continue with Ayala writing up his first publication based on the findings he's come up with and also additional publications that are expected from the study by both Araya and Alvarez. In addition, the team decided to formally begin testing the hypothesis that the changes in soil water intake that have now been documented during the winter period may result in the ability to reduce irrigation applications in certain of the tillage and cover crop management systems. Thanks go out to this great team of soil physics researchers for coming down to the NRI Project field in Five Points!