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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Developing Decision Support Systems for Nutrient Management

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Project Number: 1902-13000-012-31
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 30, 2013
End Date: Sep 30, 2015

Objective:
The objective of the project is to apply pedogenic models, empirical runoff forecasting equations, watershed simulation models, and phosphorus site assessment indices to evaluate the risk of off-site phosphorus losses in four agricultural sub-catchments of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Approach:
The project will be led by a postdoctoral scholar, with close supervision by Penn State faculty members and USDA-Agricultural Research Service scientists. In year one, the postdoctoral scholar will apply pedogenic models in each of the four project watersheds to map soils with restrictive layers that are prone to seasonal saturation and surface runoff generation. The restrictive layer maps will be used in conjunction with data from past hydrologic studies and ongoing monitoring efforts to develop empirical models linking rainfall-runoff and infiltration occurrence to new, high-resolution weather forecast variables for each of the four watersheds. These models will support the development of the Fertilizer Forecaster, a web-based tool to guide decisions by farmers on when and where to apply fertilizers and manures over 24, 48, and 72 hour periods. In year two, the postdoctoral scholar will apply the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model to the four project watersheds in order to simulate phosphorus losses under alternate applications of the phosphorus site assessment index. This work will support efforts by Penn State and USDA-ARS to validate and refine site assessment tools for phosphorus in the upper Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Last Modified: 9/20/2014
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