Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Spatial Data and Implementation Tools for Distributed Watershed Modeling Addressing NRCS Resource Concerns

Location: Agricultural Systems Research Unit

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
1. Mainstream USDA-ARS Agricultural Systems Research Unit (ASRU) modeling activities via the Object Modeling System (OMS) into NRCS Information Technology (IT) database access processes, corporate data stores, geospatial data access, and other data oriented activities; 2. Align ASRU modeling activities via OMS, particularly those related to the AgroEcoSystem-Watershed (AgES-W) model, with the NRCS Conservation Delivery Streamlining Initiative (CDSI) user interface architecture/infrastructure; 3. Implement AgES-W in the Cloud Services Innovation Platform (CSIP) and related OMS framework enhancements, as needed; and 4. Support the delivery of AgES-W model and tools in OMS to support CDSI regarding assessment of selected NRCS identified resource concerns.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
NRCS data oriented activities are progressing under the Conservation Delivery Streamline Initiative (CSDI), which will be leveraged to provide geospatial and temporal data access and delivery processes to run ASRU distributed watershed models, particularly the AgroEcoSystem-Watershed (AgES-W), and address NRCS Resource Concerns. The SCA will link data provisioning and model deployment to parallel activities in other ASRU-CSU agreements and NRCS activities. Potential synergies will be explored with the new NRCS Land Management Operational Database (LMOD) and Basin Analysis Geographical Information Systems (BAGIS).

The Cloud Services Innovation Platform (CSIP) will be tested and used to deploy AgES-W on nested watershed models in the lower Cache la Poudre Watershed, where agricultural water and nutrient management are key drivers of water quantity and quality. Targeted spatial conservation practices will also be simulated in Iowa at field to watershed scales, where explicit spatial modelling and interactions between hydrological response units should be essential to capture the integrated responses that impact selected Resource Concerns. Using these two regional case studies, the data provisioning tools will be integrated with parameter estimation methods (being developed in parallel through other SCAs with CSU) to demonstrate general data management processes and their linkages with simulation in OMS. AgES-W model outputs will be mapped to selected NRCS Resource Concerns, where ARS and CSU will inform NRCS of progress through quarterly meetings and annual reports, and receive feedback and possible adjustments to NRCS priorities and CDSI tools and databases.

Tools delivered in OMS and CSIP will be nationally scoped in terms of their abilities to be deployed over the continental USA using the same data provisioning processes and modeling tools. National application of the tools will be the future work of NRCS, but their input into the tool/framework development will be ensured, primarily through regular communication. The deliverables for each year will be demonstrated through public seminars and archived as simulation projects in Javaforge for future reference and development. Thus, the Colorado and Iowa case studies will serve as openly available templates for broader regional and national applications by stakeholders, including but not limited to NRCS.


3.Progress Report:

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Land Management Operations Database (LMOD) was extended with a suite of web services to support external applications. LMOD services were optimized to support heavy usage by applications such as the Crop Rotation and Management Builder (CRMB). Data and metadata from the Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS) model were imported to allow LMOD to manage all WEPS files, and to serve as a common management environment for WEPS and other ARS models including the AgroEcoSystem-Watershed (AgES-W) model. A comprehensive restructuring of the management data performed by NRCS in late 2012 was imported. The new data files include irrigation and non-ground-engaging operations such as pesticide and fertilizer information which are required by AgES-W and other models using LMOD. Translators to and from the native model formats for WEPS and Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation 2 (RUSLE2) were written, which enable populating those models using LMOD data as part of the Cloud Services Innovation Platform (CSIP). A translator for the AgES-W model is planned for the near future. LMOD is currently being moved to a private cloud for increased availability since it is now critical to the operation of several applications.

The Crop Rotation and Management Builder (CRMB) data provisioning tool was developed to access LMOD using uses queries from existing Internet services. To regionalize an area of interest (AOI), the data provisioning tool utilizes information from each geographical Crop Management Zone (CMZ). To detect the current crop rotation at the AOI, the CRMB tool exploits the National Agricultural Statistics (NASS) CropScape web service. The CropScape web service provides a remotely-sensed raster Crop Data Layer (CDL) for a specific year and a spatial AOI. The CRMB tool accesses the CDL and analyses each raster cell using NASS-provided accuracy values for each crop. The CRMB then generates an annual dominant crop and subsequent actual crop sequence for all available CDLs and years. Initial results of CRMB application to a small agricultural watershed in eastern Colorado were presented in March at the 2013 Hydrology Days Conference, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.

The AgroEcoSystem-Watershed (AgES-W) model development team:.
1)integrated science components for irrigation scheduling, water conveyance, and passive tile drainage into AgES-W to improve simulation of conservation practices and systems;.
2)modified AgES-W to better simulate soil-water processes and provide automated calibration within the Object Modeling System 3 (OMS3); and.
3)implemented further model improvements to simulate surface runoff at sub-daily time increments. AgES-W was evaluated for multiple processes across different geographic areas: (1) Soil moisture data in Colorado were assembled, and daily data were used for AgES-W evaluation at multiple locations and depths within a farm field. Surface runoff is currently being measured at edge-of-field within a small agricultural watershed as part of cooperative on-farm research in northern Colorado. (2) AgES-W was used to simulate forage growth and soil moisture on a grassland at the Central Plains Experiment Station, CO. These data and simulation results are being compared with GPFARM-Range model simulations. The results will guide future modifications to the AgES-W grass growth component.


Last Modified: 10/25/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page