Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 10, 2005
Publication Date: November 10, 2005
Citation: Dinnes, D.L., Jaynes, D.B., Hatfield, J.L. 2005. Translating agricultural water quality research results into a format for policymakers to use [CD-ROM]. In: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts, Nov. 6-10, 2005, Salt Lake City, UT.
Effective communications of scientific information by researchers to policymakers often requires translation because their typical audiences and how they use this information differ dramatically. The USDA-ARS National Soil Tilth Laboratory (NSTL) developed a cooperative effort with the State of Iowa and laboratory scientists completed an extensive report that reviewed and assessed conservation practices’ effects on nutrient nonpoint source pollution of Iowa’s surface waters. The report was tailored specifically to meet the needs of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to help guide the state’s nutrient management strategy to comply with the provisions of the Clean Water Act. The primary audience for this report includes state legislators, EPA, farm commodity, and environmental interest groups. To educate this diverse audience on the complexity of biological and physical systems, which is essential to understand the assessments, IDNR staff and NSTL scientists identified the following topics of information needed for each conservation practice: nutrient pollutant reduction mechanisms (how it works), applicable conditions (when and where it works), limiting conditions (when and where it may not work well), estimated range of effectiveness at any point in time, estimated range of effectiveness on an annual basis, estimated long-term effectiveness (single value), extent of current research and future research needs, and secondary benefits. It was essential to document and summarize the water quality research papers pertinent to Iowa’s environment to support the assessments. In addition, we will address the issues of how methods to reduce losses of one nutrient may increase losses of another and the need to quantify the cost efficiencies for each practice. Establishing direct relations between scientists and policymakers creates a feedback loop that can guide more effective research publications, use of research findings, and lead to better public policy.