Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 21, 2008
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The U.S. Department of Agriculture and its partners are well advanced in terms of developing a new generation of rangeland watershed models to quantify the environmental and economic impacts of grazing lands conservation practices at both national and regional scales. This suite of hydrologic and soil erosion prediction tools are specifically being designed for rangelands and will span a range of spatial scales (hillslopes, watersheds, and river basins) to assist in quantifying the impact of current and proposed management actions. The principal grazing lands resource concerns that will be directly addressed by these tools are: a) Plant community status and dynamics, b) Water quality and availability, and c) Wildlife habitat. The initial focus will be on western intermountain shrub and grass dominated rangelands, followed by efforts on eastern pastures, and the central plains. The integrated watershed package will consist of a new Rangeland Hydrology and Erosion Model (RHEM) hillslope component to calculate runoff and erosion at the site scale. To address watershed scale problems the Kinematic Runoff and Erosion Model (KINEROS) is being modified to be able to specifically address grazing land conditions and will accept input from RHEM. The Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) is being modified to specifically to address grazing land conditions and allow us to quantify net cumulative benefits of conservation practices applied at hillslope and watershed scales by integrating input from RHEM and KINEROS models for river basin scale analysis. These new rangelands risk assessment tools (e.g., RHEM) will be available beginning in late 2009.