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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ENHANCING ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES IN SOUTHEASTERN U.S. COASTAL PLAIN AGRICULTURAL WATERSHEDS

Location: Southeast Watershed Research

Title: Advancing water resource management in agricultural, rural, and urbanizing watersheds: Enhancing University involvement

Authors
item Gold, Arthur -
item Parker, Doug -
item Waskom, Reagan -
item Dobrowolski, James -
item O'Neill, Michael -
item Groffman, Peter -
item Addy, Kelly -
item Lowrance, Robert

Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 12, 2012
Publication Date: June 24, 2013
Citation: Gold, A., Parker, D., Waskom, R., Dobrowolski, J., O'Neill, M., Groffman, P., Addy, K., Lowrance, R.R. 2013. Advancing water resource management in agricultural, rural, and urbanizing watersheds: Enhancing University involvement. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. doi: 10.2489/JSWC.68.4.337.

Interpretive Summary: This is a research editorial that is the outgrowth of a workshop of university and government scientists in November, 2011. In this research editorial we make four points relative to solving water resource issues: (1) they are complex problems and difficult to solve, (2) some progress has been made on solving these issues, (3) external factors such as land use changes, climate change and variability, and shifts in markets, policies and regulations warrant constant vigilance to assure that presumed improvements are being attained, and 4) we are poised to make substantial progress on these challenges over the next 10 to 20 years if critical steps are taken. Our discussion is framed by identifying and describing four grand challenges that we face in agricultural, rural, and urbanizing watersheds: 1) nutrient management, 2) food safety, 3) agricultural water use, and 4) groundwater management. These four grand challenge areas were distilled from a list of over 50 important issues related to agricultural water resource management identified at the workshop. Our overarching premise is that the combination of capacity in university-led research, extension, and education has the potential to enhance the conservation planning, technical assistance, and research programs within USDA and galvanize significant progress on these challenges. This progress will occur most rapidly by working in concert with sister USDA agencies. The availability and focus of external funding will influence that progress by directing university investment in academic programs, faculty, and outreach.

Technical Abstract: In this research editorial we make four points relative to solving water resource issues: (1) they are complex problems and difficult to solve, (2) some progress has been made on solving these issues, (3) external non-stationary drivers such as land use changes, climate change and variability, and shifts in markets, policies and regulations warrant constant vigilance to assure that presumed improvements are being attained, and 4) we are poised to make substantial progress on these challenges over the next 10 to 20 years if critical steps are taken. Our discussion is framed by identifying and describing four 'grand challenges' that we face in agricultural, rural, and urbanizing watersheds: nutrient management, food safety, agricultural water use, and groundwater management. These four grand challenge areas were distilled from a list of over 50 important issues related to agricultural water resource management identified at a November 2011 workshop of university 24 and government water scientists. Our overarching premise is that the combination of capacity in university-led research, extension, and education has the potential to enhance the conservation planning, technical assistance, and research programs within USDA and galvanize significant progress on these challenges. This progress will occur most rapidly by working in concert with sister USDA agencies. The availability and focus of external funding will influence that progress by directing university investment in academic programs, faculty, and outreach.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014