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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Right Practice, Right Place: Development and Deployment of a Conservation Planning Toolkit and Improved Incentive Strategies…
2012 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Develop a set of practice-specific conservation planning tools for application at the HUC-12 scale.

1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Tasks will include: Developing an approach to represent hydrologic flows through processing and terrain analysis of LiDAR data; Selecting test watersheds and identifying priority water quality concerns and conservation practices to address those concerns; Determining parameters and criteria for targeting individual practices in watersheds; Developing maps and mapping tools for each identified practice; Technology transfer of results through interaction with stakeholders to obtain feedback, evaluate and refine methods; Modeling of practice effects on water quality using simple models and published research results; and writing and publication of technology transfer materials and refereed journal publications.

3.Progress Report:

This research requires development of a geographically-based conservation planning framework and significant progress has been made to develop this mapping framework that will enable watershed-scale and field-scale planning applications. Datasets for two preliminary trial cases have been assembled; one in HUC12 watershed in northern Iowa and one in southern Minnesota. Conservation placement criteria are being developed for specific conservation practices. We have begun with practices for which placement criteria can be defined easily (e.g., controlled drainage, contour buffer strips), based on simple attributes such as slope or soil type, and are developing programming code that can be used to propose sites for other practices based on more complex criteria (e.g., nutrient removal wetlands, riparian buffers). Hydrologic routing analyses are based on light detection and rating (LiDAR) data which involves slow but definite progress in overcoming challenges that are inherent to this type of data. Output data layers and field-level attribute tables for these two watersheds are being shared with partners on the project who are developing economic planning tools and designing web-based technology transfer and conservation planning applications.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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