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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Conservation Effects Assessment Project—The First Five Years

Authors
item Duriancik, Lisa - NRCS
item Bucks, Dale
item Dobrowolski, Jim - CSREES
item Drews, Tom - NRCS
item Eckles, Diane - NRCS
item Jolley, Leonard - NRCS
item Kellogg, Robert - NRCS
item Makuch, Joseph
item Rewa, Charles - NRCS
item Walbridge, Mark
item Parry, Roberta - US-EPA
item Weltz, Mark

Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 23, 2008
Publication Date: November 15, 2008
Citation: Duriancik, L., Bucks, D., Dobrowolski, J.P., Drews, T., Eckles, S.D., Jolley, L., Kellogg, R.L., Lund, D. Makuch, J.R., O'Neil, M.P., Rewa, C.A., Walbridge, M.R., Parry, R., Weltz, M. 2008. The first five years of the Conservation Effects Assessment Project. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 63:185-197.

Interpretive Summary: The Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) was initiated by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) in response to a general call for better accountability of how society would benefit from the 2002 Farm Bill’s substantial increase in conservation program funding. The original goals of CEAP were to establish the scientific understanding of the effects of conservation practices at the watershed scale and to estimate conservation impacts and benefits for reporting at the national and regional levels. CEAP activities were organized into three interconnected efforts: Bibliographies, literature reviews, and a scientific workshop to establish what is known about the environmental effects of conservation practices at the field and watershed scale, and what kinds of research and data collection are needed to assess conservation practice benefits; Watershed studies to provide in-depth quantification of water quality and soil quality impacts of conservation practices at the local level and to provide insight on what practices are needed and where they are needed within a watershed; and National and regional assessments to estimate the environmental effects and benefits of conservation practices on the landscape and to estimate remaining conservation treatment needs. During its first 5 years, CEAP established research and assessment efforts designed to estimate the effects and benefits of conservation practices through a mix of research, data collection, model development, and model application. This paper provides an overview of the CEAP effort at the end of the first 5 years, summarizes accomplishments to date, and presents plans for completing current activities. An extended report on the first 5 years of CEAP can be found at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/NRI/ceap/.

Technical Abstract: The Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) was initiated by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) in response to a general call for better accountability of how society would benefit from the 2002 Farm Bill’s substantial increase in conservation program funding. This paper provides an overview of the CEAP effort at the end of the first 5 years, summarizes accomplishments to date, and presents plans for completing current activities. An extended report on the first 5 years of CEAP can be found at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/NRI/ceap/. CEAP accomplishments during the first five years include the following: USDA established 38 research watersheds to quantify the measurable effects of conservation practices on the quality or quantity of water and soils. The ARS and the Soil and Water Conservation Society completed a synthesis of the scientific literature on the effects of conservation practices on cropland. The NRCS and the Wildlife Society completed two literature reviews of the effects of conservation practices and programs on wildlife. An international workshop was held (Managing Agricultural Landscapes for Environmental Quality: Strengthening the Science Base) to enhance the understanding of how individual efforts on farms and ranches add up to real and meaningful results at the watershed or landscape scale. Current literature on what is known and not known about the environmental benefits of conservation practices and programs has been assembled and is electronically available in a publication from the USDA National Agricultural Library (NAL). In addition, dynamic bibliographies using real-time searches in the NAL catalog (AGRICOLA) on publications relating to Environmental Effects of Conservation Practices on Grazing Lands are available to the public at http://www.nal.usda.gov/wqic/ceap/index.shtml.

Last Modified: 8/31/2014
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