RESTORATION OF BRINE WATER IMPACTED SOILS USING HALOPHYTES, SOIL DISTURBANCES, AND ORGANIC MATTER IN WEST TEXAS
Belew, Colton Edward
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Rangelands are often contaminated with salt water during the production of hydrocarbons (oil and natural gas). Once salt water is spilled on the soil surface, vegetation cover is lost, infiltration rates decline, and erosion rates are accelerated. The purpose of this study was to determine if combining soil disturbances (ripping and furrowing) with the addition of organic matter would further enhance halophyte plant establishment. Treatments consisted of adding gin-trash or sudangrass hay to different soil disturbances. These included ripping, furrowing, or no soil disturbance. Changes in soil compaction, infiltration rates, and seedling establishment were measured. Ripping and furrowing reduced soil compaction and tended to increase infiltration rates. Adding gin-trash tended to increase infiltration rates. There were no differences between seedling establishment rates of alkali sacaton (Sporobolus airoides) or giant sacaton Sporobolus wrightii), however there was a trend toward improved seedling establishment when adding organic matter was combined with ripping or furrowing.