Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research
Project Number: 2060-13610-001-18-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Dec 31, 2013
End Date: Sep 30, 2015
The primary purpose is to construct the scientific foundation for documenting what is known and what is not known about the environmental effects of conservation practices and management actions on rangeland hydrologic processes. The University of Nevada at Reno is undertaking a cooperative project with the Agricultural Research Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Bureau of Reclamation to quantify water availability and quality in western watersheds. Specifically the project will: 1) quantify the impact conservation practices have on the hydrologic balance and soil erosion processes of sagebrush, cheatgrass and pinyon and juniper woodlands within the Great Basin; and 2) and quantify and improve the understanding of the sources and transport of dissolved solids and entrained soil particles in surface runoff that impact water quality (salinity) in the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB), generating knowledge which will generally be transferrable to other semi-arid and arid domestic and international rangelands.
The University of Nevada at Reno will assist ARS in conducting an international literature search to document what is known about conservation practices and their ability to mitigate mobilization and transport of soil and dissolved solids into western river systems. Based on the literature review the team will design experiments to evaluate the efficiency of the conservation practice in reducing soil erosion on arid and semi-arid rangelands. The ARS-UNR team will use both sources of information to improve the USDA Rangeland Hydrology and Erosion Model’s ability to predict how conservation practices will improve water quantity and quality of western rivers.