2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Problems to be addressed through this agreement include the following four areas: 1. Improving our understanding of the aggregate effects of conservation practices at the watershed scale; 2. Improving our ability to select and place conservation practices on the landscape for maximum effectiveness; 3. Improving conservation practices to better protect water resources; and 4. Maintaining the effectiveness of conservation practices under changing climate and land use.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Improving our understanding of the aggregate effects of conservation practices at the watershed scale:
1. Field studies to develop remote sensing tools to better evaluate cover crop performance (CB/ACP).
2. Develop models/decision support tools to assess the effectiveness of cover crops (CB/ACP) and other BMP’s (All) at the watershed scale.
3. Enhance the landscape version of SWAT to better represent field-to-basin scale
Improving our ability to select and place conservation practices on the landscape for maximum effectiveness:
1. Develop mapping techniques for placing specific practices within watersheds based on terrain and soils data.
2. Develop methods of terrain analysis for improved mapping of soil wetness in glacial terrain.
3. Validate the CEAP National Assessment conducted with SWAT at multiple scales.
4. Assess and compare the trade-offs of no-till adoption, and support the development of nutrient management recommendations for water quality protection, at the watershed scale.
Improving conservation practices to better protect water resources:
1. Quantify nutrient management effects on water quality at field and watershed scales.
2. Watershed scale studies to systematically validate phosphorus site assessment tools in support of NRCS 590 (nutrient management) standard.
3. Watershed scale assessment of combined conservation practices.
Maintaining the effectiveness of conservation practices under changing climate and land use:
1. Use reservoir sedimentation, land use change, and climate information to anticipate future reservoir sedimentation and needs for additional conservation under changing climate.
2. Enhance SWAT model routines for urban landscape BMPs.
3. Apply erosion (WEPP, etc.) and water quality (WEPP-WQ, etc.) models to catchments ranging from field- to farm-size and watershed scale, to assess the impacts of current and alternative land management systems and conservation practices under current and future climates.
This project involved assessment of conservation practices in the Choptank River Watershed on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Agricultural best management practices were evaluated including winter cover crops and wetland restoration. Satellite data was acquired during the cropping season to assess success of winter cover crops for nitrogen uptake. Ecosystem service provision by wetlands were measured and correlated to biophysical measurements from remotely sensed data. In addition to establishing the water quality condition of the overall watershed, monthly base flow sampling of the 15 sub-watersheds, as well as, quarterly sampling on the main stem of the Choptank River continued during this reporting period. These samples were analyzed for nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) and pesticide residues (parent and metabolites of atrazine and metolachlor). Two real time nitrate sensors were installed that the USGS gage stations located near Ruthsburg and Greensboro, MD.