CONSERVATION PRACTICES IN NORTHEASTERN GRAZING LANDS
Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research
2009 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this cooperative research project is to evaluate the watershed-level effects of agricultural land use and Best Management Practices in the Spring Creek watershed in central Pennsylvania by using aerial remote sensing topographic data and on-farm sampling to characterize within-farm placement of agricultural and conservation land uses relative to local drainage networks.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Previous CEAP-related research in the Spring Creek watershed funded the collection of fine-grained LIDAR topographic data and collection of basic information on agricultural BMPs applied within the watershed. Further on-farm mapping and producer interviews will be used to identify land use types on the grazing farms within this watershed. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) will be used to map water flow paths within farms, and to characterize the spatial position of land use types with differing potential for nutrient and sediment runoff relative to those flow paths. This Specific Cooperative Agreement will be used to hire a post-doctoral research associate to conduct the watershed research, and to work closely with the cooperator on the analysis of LIDAR data.
A postdoctoral research associate was hired, and several meetings were held with ARS, Penn State, NRCS, and conservation district scientists and stakeholders to identify crucial research tasks and to develop analytical approaches and methods. Mapping and digitizing protocols have been developed to identify relevant land uses and derive water flow pathways using high-resolution aerial photography and LIDAR data. Detailed date and location information has been obtained for all grazing Best Management Practices applied along the Spring Creek corridor. Progress was monitored through regular meetings and a written report prepared by University collaborators.