1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this Annex is to continue the Centers for Soil and Water Conservation and Environmental Protection, co-located at the Northwest Sci-Tech University in Yangling, Shaanxi, People’s Republic of China and the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory located in West Lafayette, Indiana, United States. Each Center will conduct research, develop scientific tools and technology, and introduce improved methods for soil and water conservation and environmental protection integrated with other human pursuits that socially and economically maintain livelihoods and protect the environment through information exchange, education and proactive extension services. This Annex is subject to the terms and conditions of the S & T Agreement and the Protocol. In the event of any conflict between the terms and conditions of the S & T Agreement or the Protocol and this Annex, the S & T Agreement and the Protocol shall govern.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Cooperation under this Annex may include, but is not limited to, the following topic areas: 1. Erosion and Sedimentation: including the study of wind, water, and gravity erosion processes, sediment transport, and deposition and quantifying their effects on landscape stability, water quantity, air and water quality, agriculture and the environment at scales ranging from farm fields to entire river basins. 2. Climate Change: including interactions with, plant responses, soil erosion, and environmental quality. Research will include local, regional and global scales. 3. Soil, Water and Environmental Conservation: including social, economic, and environmental factors that influence effective management for sustaining soil, water and environmental resources and using decision-support tools to predict the potential consequences of various management options. 4. Watershed Ecosystems: using models and indicators based on selected physical, chemical, and biological attributes to define watershed ecosystem health and determine the susceptibility of watersheds to climate variability. 5. Agriculture and Environment: Centers will quantify watershed productivity and water resource capacity affected by land use, vegetative cover and climate and develop farming practices to maximize water use efficiency and agricultural production while minimizing adverse local and off-site environmental impacts. Research will include demonstration projects. 6. Information Services and Technology Transfer: Assemble, manage and publish data and information resources for research, education and public service. To generate broad interest and increased activities, the Parties will, upon mutual consent, involve other interested government agencies and the scientific and business communities of both countries in cooperative programs, trade capacity-building activities, and scientific cooperation and exchanges in implementation of this Annex.
3. Progress Report:
1. ARS scientists are cooperating with counterparts at Shandong Agricultural University at Tai-an to establish a soil moisture monitoring network. The intent of this effort is to create a ground-truth site in Shandong to support the planned 2014 NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission. 2. A Chinese scientist from Yangling Agricultural Northwest A&F University is conducting rainfall simulation and flume experiments at ARS National Soil Erosion Research Lab to derive soil erodibility parameters for use by USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The results are delivered to NRCS in August 2013 and the findings have resolved the issue with soil erodibility values at South Dakota and Vermont. 3. ARS scientists at Oxford, MS, continue to cooperate with scientists at Beijing Normal University to assess ephemeral gully erosion and soil degradation at the Northeast Black Soil Region of China. This region is considered the Grain Basket of China, the only region in China that grains (corn, soybean and rice) are exported to other parts of China. The rapid loss of the fertile black top soil under a relatively short farming history (i.e., 60-100 years) from conventional farming practices is a concern for the Chinese government. 4. ARS scientists at El Reno, OK is working with Chinese scientists at Beijing Normal University to develop a rare earth tracer technology that can be used to quantify soil erosion and sediment deposition at the landscape. Soil samples from the US are being analyzed at China. 5. Chinese Ministry of Agriculture provided funds to conduct trainings (by ARS scientists in China) for four ARS developed soil erosion and water quality models: Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model, Wind Erosion Prediction Systems (WEPS), Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) and Agricultural Non-point Source Pollution Systems (AGNPS). Chinese scientists also translated or developed the User’s Guides in Chinese language for improved usage by Chinese users.