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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

2011 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Develop and validate methods to identify critical source areas of soil and nutrient loss in agricultural catchments of the Chesapeake Bay drainage basin using remote sensing techniques, particularly LiDAR-developed topographic maps. A. Develop technology for detection of runoff and erosion prone critical source areas in steeply sloped landscapes of the Chesapeake Bay drainage area. B. Develop technology for detection of runoff and nutrient loss critical source areas in nearly-level landscapes of the Chesapeake Bay drainage area.

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
In order to link the edge-of-field effects of agricultural management practices to down stream impacts on water quality and fish habitat, LiDAR-developed topographic maps and other remotely sensed data will be used to detect runoff and erosion prone areas in steeply sloped landscapes, target site-specific ditch and field management practices in nearly-level landscapes, and characterize stream channel processes. Research will be conducted at sites representative of landscapes and agricultural practices within the Potomac and the watersheds, estuaries and marine ecosystems of the Chesapeake Bay drainage basin, including the Mid-Atlantic Highlands of Appalachia, Allegheny Plateau, Valley and Ridge, and Atlantic Coastal Plain.

3.Progress Report
This report serves to document research conducted under an Assistance Type Cooperative Agreement between Canaan Valley Institute (CVI) and ARS. Additional details of research can be found in the report for the University Park, PA associated project CRIS 1902-13000-011-00D, "Integrated Management of Land and Water Resources for Environmental and Economic Sustainability in the Northeast U.S." The objectives of this research conducted under this agreement directly address related project Objective 2: Evaluate landscape-scale controls on nutrient transfers to quantify aggregate N and P losses from farming systems and watersheds typical of the Northeast, and Objective 4: Determine effectiveness of conservation practices (BMPs) in the Cannonsville/Town Brook Watershed and other appropriate watersheds (CEAP-related).

A second set of LiDAR data were collected on the Mahantango Creek watershed (WE-38) in east central Pennsylvania on April 18, 2011. These data will be compared to an earlier LiDAR dataset from WE-38 (March 26, 2007) to determine if there have been any measurable changes in stream channel geometry related to stream bank erosion over the four-year period from 2007 to 2011. The results will be used to support an ongoing study of stream sediment sources in the WE-38 watershed using sediment tracers and LiDAR data. The most recent LiDAR data collection on WE-38 completes the last major milestone for the current project (Agreement #59-1930-6-649).

A new follow-on agreement (Agreement #59-1930-1-171) was established in July 2011. This new agreement will replace the current agreement (Agreement #59-1930-6-649) expires on August 31, 2011. The new agreement runs from September 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012. The funds will be used to develop and test novel sediment source tracking methods for quantifying sediment source reductions following stream restoration. Principal investigators from USDA-ARS, CVI, West Virginia University, and Virginia Tech convened in Blacksburg, VA on August 19-20, 2010 to lay out specific objectives for the project and outline key experiments and studies. Several rounds of conference calls have been held since then to track progress.

Last Modified: 8/3/2015
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