CONSERVATION EFFECTS ASSESSMENT PROJECT - THE ARS WATERSHED ASSESSMENT STUDY
Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research
Project Number: 3622-13000-009-00
Start Date: Jun 01, 2006
End Date: May 31, 2011
The objectives of this project are to support a national assessment of the environmental effects of USDA conservation programs by providing detailed findings for a few intensively studied watersheds and to improve the performance of models to be used in the assessment. Specific objectives are: 1) Develop and implement a data system to organize water, soil, management, and socio-economic watershed data; 2) Quantify water quality, water quantity, soil quality, and ecosystem effects of conservation practices at the watershed scale; 3) Validate models and quantify uncertainties of model prediction; 4) Develop and apply policy-planning tools to aid selection and placement of conservation practices to optimize profits, environmental quality, and conservation practice efficiency; and 5) Develop regional watershed models that quantify environmental outcomes of conservation practices.
The general approach is the acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of data from 14 ARS Benchmark Watersheds and the testing and evaluation of models for the national assessment. Conservation practices are being applied on the 14 watersheds. Development and testing of watershed models will be associated with the 14 watersheds. The watersheds provide a cross-section of climate, soils, land use, topography, and crops across major production regions of the U.S. The research will be carefully coordinated. Six multi-location teams will guide the research, with a specific team being responsible for each of the five objectives and a sixth team providing quality assurance guidelines for the other teams. This multi-location project will be affiliated with the following location-specific projects: 1265-13610-026-00D, 1902-13000-010-00D, 3602-12000-011-00D, 3602-12220-NEW-00D, 3604-13000-007-00D, 3622-12130-003-00D, 3625-12130-003-00D, 3625-13000-008-00D, 5358-21410-002-00D, 5368-13000-006-00D, 5402-13660-006-00D, 6206-13610-005-00D, 6218-13000-009-00D, 6408-13000-017-00D, 6408-13660-005-00D, 6602-13000-020-00D, 6602-13000-021-00D.