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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Reservoir and Watershed Management Research Project in East and Central Africa

Location: Great Plains Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research Unit

Project Number: 3070-13000-011-04
Project Type: Nonfunded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 01, 2013
End Date: Sep 30, 2018

Objective:
1. Short-term: To conduct a proof of concept study to assess the current reservoir sedimentation status and to determine conservation practices that will minimize watershed erosion and reservoir sedimentation to ensure sufficient water resources for the growing populations under projected long-term climate change in a reservoir watershed, to be determined by the International Center for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF). 2. Long-term: To establish the center for reservoir and watershed management research and education for the East (or East and Central) Africa region.

Approach:
A reservoir watershed, to be determined by ICRAF, will be evaluated using standard rapid geomorphic assessment techniques to determine sources of sediment. A vibracoring system, boats, and outboard motor, gas tank and the multifrequency acoustic profiling system (APS) to be purchased by USDA ARS will be used. Reservoir water storage capacity and long-term average annual sedimentation rates will be quantified using the APS. One to two sediment cores will be taken from the reservoir using the vibracore and analyzed for sediment texture and bulk density. A digital elevation model, soils, landuse and land management, weather, and streamflow data will be obtained and used for modeling. A Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model project will be built, calibrated and validated for streamflow and sediment using sediment budget data and reservoir sedimentation rates. SWAT will be used to identify “hot spots” within the watershed, determine the impacts of climate change on reservoir/stream sedimentation rates, and evaluate alternative conservation scenarios to enhance water sustainability under climate change and a growing population. ARS will work with ICRAF on details to establish an East Africa reservoir and watershed management and education center (RWMREC) to be run by ICRAF. A board, which involves members from ICRAF and ARS, will be formed. The board will draft the mission and vision of the center and develop ideas to raise funds to sustain the center. All equipment used during the proof of concept study will be donated to ICRAF to help with establishment of the center. A suite of models including SWAT will be adopted to evaluate the impacts of land use and management, climate change, and agroforestry on water resources, soil health, and food security for growing populations and determine suitable conservation practices to mitigate negative impacts. Economic analyses of the impacts of reservoir sedimentation and unmanaged watershed will be carried out by ICRAF. The RWMREC will be used for academic and non-academic research and for other applications as decided. As the first step, ICRAF will organize a proof of concept workshop in a location of their choice once the proof of concept study is completed. The main goal of the workshop will be to gather stakeholders and funding agencies to showcase what the center will offer. Complete results and products of the proof of concept study and estimates of economic impacts of unmanaged reservoirs and watersheds will be presented, and demonstrations of how the APS and vibracore for bathymetric survey will be provided.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014
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