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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Cover-Management Enhancements for Rusle2 in the Pacific Northwest Usa

Authors
item McCool, Donald
item Foster, George - USDA-ARS RETIRED
item Ingersoll, Anthony - USDA-NRCS
item Mcclellan, Ronald - USDA-NRCS RETIRED
item Rickman, Ronald - USDA-ARS RETIRED

Submitted to: International Soil Conservation Organization Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 2001
Publication Date: November 22, 2001
Citation: Mccool, D.K., Foster, G.R., Ingersoll, A.H., Mcclellan, R.C., Rickman, R.W. 2001. Cover-management enhancements for rusle2 in the pacific northwest usa. International Soil Conservation Organization Conference Proceedings.

Interpretive Summary: Hydrologic, water erosion, and water quality models are important tools for land and natural resource managers. The Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) is perhaps the most used water erosion model to develop and evaluate conservation plans for cropland, pasture land, and construction sites to ensure that erosion and sediment damages are prevented. The latest version of RUSLE, RUSLE2, is being readied for use in 2003. This version is significantly improved from previous versions, and provided the opportunity to examine and improve the relationships for the effect of cover and management on cropland erosion in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) USA. Analysis of a large crop yield and total biomass data set collected during a 10-year period in the PNW provided relationships between residue production and crop yield for a number of crops. Recent data provided new relationships for root mass values for small grains. These new relationships, as well as previously reported findings, were used in validating RUSLE2 for the PNW using 13 years of runoff plot data from the Palouse Conservation Field Station (PCFS) near Pullman, Washington, USA. The validation is important to ensure that RUSLE2 works well in this region where erosion occurs primarily from low-intensity rainfall on saturated, thawing, easily detached soil. Crop producers and the public will benefit from this new modeling tool that will be used to select effective and low-cost crop management systems to prevent erosion and sediment damages.

Technical Abstract: The Natural Resources Conservation Service of the US Department of Agriculture has the responsibility of assisting land owners develop conservation plans to protect their cropland from erosion and prevent excessive sediment delivery to streams and reservoirs. Erosion prediction technology, such as the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE), is the tool used universally to develop these plans. The NRCS is implementing RUSLE2, the most recent version of RUSLE, for farm planning use in 2003. Technology in this new version of RUSLE is significantly improved from previous versions. New relationships have been added, retained ones improved, it is more process based, and computations are done on a daily basis. This change in technology provided the need and impetus to examine and improve the cover and management relationships for the Pacific Northwest (PNW) USA. Analysis of a large crop yield and total biomass data set collected during a 10-year period in the PNW provided relationships between residue production and crop yield for a number of crops. Recent data provided new relationships for root mass values for small grains. These new relationships, as well as previously reported findings, were used in validating RUSLE2 for the PNW using 13 years of runoff plot data from the Palouse Conservation Field Station (PCFS) near Pullman, Washington, USA. Validating RUSLE2 for the PNW is important to ensure that RUSLE2 works well in a region where erosion uniquely occurs during low intensity rainfall on saturated, thawing soil that is easily eroded. RUSLE2 must perform well to develop cost-effective conservation plans to prevent both on-site and off-site damages.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014
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