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Mohamed Youssef

Professor

D. S. Weaver Labs 185

Publications

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Grants

Date: 03/25/22 - 3/18/25
Amount: $421,491.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS)

The the objectives of this integrated proposal are: 1) demonstrate and evaluate the crop yield and water quality benefits of drainage water capture and reuse for supplemental irrigation; 2) conduct an economic analysis to assess the feasibility of implementing the practice; 3) develop a design tool to optimize the performance of drainage water capture and reuse systems; and 4) educate the stakeholder on the proposed practice.

Date: 05/18/21 - 5/01/24
Amount: $67,269.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS)

The overall goal of this project is to stimulate the adoption of saturated buffers for reducing nitrogen losses from artificially drained agricultural landscapes in the U.S. Midwest. The project involves the development, testing, and application of a decision support tool for saturated buffers that provide key information for design, performance, and cost of saturated buffers at the farm level. The decision support tool will be based on DRAINMOD model that has been developed at North Carolina State University and has been extensively applied to artificially drained agriculture worldwide. The work will primarily conducted at Michigan State University while Dr. Youssef of NCSU will provide the support and expertise as the tool is being developed and tested.

Date: 01/01/14 - 12/31/22
Amount: $292,500.00
Funding Agencies: Weyerhaeuser NR Company (subsidiary of Weyerhaeuser)

A long-term forest hydrology and water management study was initiated on three experimental loblolly pine forests in Carteret County, NC in 1988. Data were collected on the research watersheds for 21 years to quantify effects of silvicultural and water management practices on hydrology and drainage water quality. Beginning in 2009 a fourth watershed was added and treatments are being established to study the environmental impacts of growing a biofuel crop (switchgrass) between the rows of pine trees. This project will support collection and analysis of data from the Carteret and Kendricks Creek sites to determine the effects of treatments on hydrology and drainage water quality.

Date: 02/13/19 - 12/31/22
Amount: $20,000.00
Funding Agencies: National Council for Air & Stream Improvement, Inc.

The primary objective of this project is to support data collection to assess effects of operational forestry herbicide applications on aquatic plants and biota. The analyses in this Scope of Work will be based on stream discharge and weather data collected from instrumented watersheds established in Mississippi and Alabama preceding and following operational forestry herbicide applications on selected sites. Data processing and analyses will include quality control, flow calculations, and comparison of hydrology data to those previously collected at the watershed sites. After the dataset is finalized we will work with scientists at NCASI and Weyerhaeuser to calculate loading rates of herbicide components.

Date: 01/01/20 - 12/31/22
Amount: $145,000.00
Funding Agencies: Cotton, Inc.

This multi-year project seeks to achieve high yielding, climate resilient, environmentally sustainable, and resource efficient cotton production in North Carolina and the U.S. Southeast region. We propose on-farm water capture and reuse for supplemental irrigation as a promising practice for: i) increasing cotton production resilience to frequent and long dry periods during growing season and ii) protecting water quality by reducing the export of nutrients and sediment from cropland to downstream surface water bodies. This proposal will focus only on water conservation and cotton fiber yield benefits of on-farm water capture and reuse. We having been seeking funds from other sources to assess other potential benefits of the practice including water quality and flood mitigation benefits. The specific objectives of the project are: 1. Quantifying, with field experiments and computer modeling, cotton yield gains of on-farm water capture and reuse for supplemental irrigation as affected by reservoir size, growing season precipitation, and soil type. 2. Developing recommendations for the design and management of on-farm water capture systems to optimize performance and minimize tradeoffs. For the first project period ending on December 31, 2020, the primary objective is the procurement and installation of necessary instrumentation at the experimental site (the Peanut Belt Research Station, Bertie County, NC) where the proposed research will be carried out.

Date: 10/01/18 - 9/30/22
Amount: $249,619.00
Funding Agencies: US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Water table levels (saturation periods) in wetlands vary across the wetland and change with soil type and drainage class. These saturation periods have not been determined for most soils, and consequently, hydrologic performance requirements for restored wetlands haven’t been well defined. The main objective of this project is to define saturation periods as a percentage of the growing season that restored wetlands should meet for the specific soils used for restoration. Saturation periods of natural wetlands will be determined for selected soil series ranging from very poorly drained organic soils to moderately well drained mineral soils. Data for most soils will come from prior investigations that measured water tables and computed 40 year records of water table data for each soil. Field monitoring of flood plain soils will also be conducted to complete the data base. Saturation periods for restored wetlands will be obtained from the data base of the NC Department of Environmental Quality which has catalogued water table and soils data from 233 restored sites in NC. Sites having soils similar to the natural sites will be identified, visited to determine soil type at each well location, and to assess wetland condition. Saturation periods will be compared between the restored and natural sites for a given soil type (series and drainage class). Saturation periods for wetlands successfully restored will be proposed for very poorly drained, poorly drained, somewhat poorly drained and moderately well drained classes. These results will allow saturation periods to be estimated for all soils across the region that restoration sites should meet to be successful.

Date: 07/01/16 - 6/30/21
Amount: $189,997.00
Funding Agencies: US Agency for International Development (USAID)

Agricultural drainage is essential for crop production in Egypt. Over 78% of Egypt’s agricultural land is artificially drained. Drainage, however, has negative impacts on ground and surface water quality. Drainage mobilizes salts and agricultural chemicals, which may contaminate shallow groundwater aquifers and surface water bodies. Drainage systems must be carefully designed to increase yields, reduce production costs, and minimize nutrient losses from drained farmlands to ground and surface waters. Over-designed drainage systems not only increase installation costs, but more importantly waste the valuable water resource, may lead to yield losses because of the potential increase in dry stresses, and also increase the potential for leaching losses of applied agrochemicals, contaminating ground and surface waters. Despite the dramatic changes in farming practices and the availability of water resource, the design criteria for drainage systems in Egypt has not been updated during the last three decades. The goal of this project is to develop and evaluate new drainage design criteria that explicitly link the design of drainage systems to crop yields and profits, water quality, and water conservation. A regional study will be conducted to evaluate the performance of existing drainage systems. The new design criteria and framework will utilize the widely used DRAINMOD (drainage water management suite of models. The new design criteria will be evaluated using two field experiments. The results of this project could lead to significant improvement to the drainage design, reducing construction cost, improving yield, conserving water, and reducing pollution load. The excessive surface water pollution and the scarcity of the water resource, currently facing Egypt, make this research proposal timely and critically needed.

Date: 02/01/18 - 1/31/21
Amount: $86,810.00
Funding Agencies: Corn Growers Association of NC, Inc.

The primary goal of this research and education project is to evaluate and demonstrate an economical system to automatically manage agricultural drainage and subirrigation in order to maximize corn yields, conserve water, and significantly minimize direct user management. Specific objectives are: 1. Developing corn-specific management protocols for the new generation of drainage water management systems. 2. Conducting a DRAINMOD modeling analysis using historic weather data and different soil types to optimize the management protocol for different soils and weather conditions. 3. Evaluating and demonstrating the management protocol on research fields equipped with the recently developed “SMART” water control structure, which drains and subirrigates the field based on real time feedback from sensors measuring the water table level in the field. 4. Documenting the corn yield and water conservation benefits of the practice. 5. Demonstrating the use of the new generation of water control structures to growers

Date: 02/01/11 - 12/31/20
Amount: $108,934.00
Funding Agencies: NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund

A large farm located in extreme eastern Hyde County uses intense drainage practices to allow for agricultural operations and to maximize crop yields. Currently, water management on the farm requires pumping of excess agricultural drainage water into the Pamlico Sound. Multiple stakeholders, which include members that have in some cases, been historically adversarial, have forged a partnership to develop a large scale restoration and water management plan that will encompass over 7,200 acres of land. This plan will significantly reduce pumped agricultural drainage water to the Pamlico Sound, and reroute this water through historical drainage paths that will enhance the hydrology and habitat on approximately 4,200 acres of forested wetland that have been drained (it is believed that this area formed a natural drainage way flowing northwest in the direction of the Alligator River). If this project is successful, it could signal a pivotal change in scale and acceptance of these types of projects, because our planning thus far appears to have minimized required socio-economic trade-offs between stakeholders. The current conceptual plan for replicating and restoring natural drainage patterns within this area include plugging of farm ditches, land contouring, creating impoundments for water reuse and migratory waterfowl habitat, and planting of native vegetation where needed. To reduce drainage outflow directly to the Pamlico Sound via pumping, this farm land to be restored may provide a more ecologically sound area to redirect a portion of agricultural drainage water. Hydrology in the restoration area which was historically common to pocosin ecosystems can be restored. In addition, as pumped drainage water flows through this area, sediment, nutrients, and bacteria contained in this water can be effectively removed through biogeochemical processes unique to wetland ecosystems. Some of this drainage water will also be available for reuse by the farm. Reuse coupled with infiltration and evapotranspiration in the restored areas will also reduce the net volume of water leaving the confines of the farm. The Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at North Carolina State University proposes to provide leadership in finalizing the design and overseeing construction of Phase I of this project. In addition, it is crucial that the initial hydrologic modeling efforts that addressed the feasibility of this project be intensified to determine how water will be managed following construction. Our initial estimates are that pumping costs will be reduced, and both the pollutant load reduction to the sound and assimilation capacity of the wetlands will be high - a win for all stakeholders. However, these hypotheses must be tested using long-term models that will be calibrated and validated with field and laboratory data obtained during this proposed effort. This overall project will serve as a demonstration of how environmental and water quality projects can be implemented in conjunction with agricultural operations. In addition, it will serve as an example for other farms in the watershed/drainage district that will lead to future restoration projects with additional water quality benefits. These studies proposed will be coupled with reporting and education at local meetings to solidify current fragile partnerships. Failure to do so may stalemate this and future projects of this scale.

Date: 03/01/15 - 12/31/20
Amount: $681,994.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

This is a multi-institution project aims at managing water for increased resiliency of drained agricultural landscapes. Three practices, controlled drainage, drainage water capture and used, and saturated buffers, will be assessed experimentally and modeled using computer simulation models. The principal investigator of NC State University will lead the computer modeling component of the project, which aims at extending the field measured benefits and costs both temporally, accounting for future climate change, and spatially across the drained agricultural landscape in the U.S. Midwest and the state of North Carolina. The work will involve: 1) calibrating and validated the computer models, DRAINMOD and REMM; 2) Field scale simulations to assess the vulnerability of crop production to climate change and the effects of proposed systems in adapting crop production to these changes; 3)Quantifying the effects of the proposed practices on adapting crop production to climate change at the landscape scale.


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