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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Research Project #429355

Research Project: CEAP and National Soil Survey Center Joint Multi Location Project: Evaluation and Improvement of the NRCS Soil Vulnerability Index

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

Project Number: 5070-12130-006-02-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Jun 19, 2015
End Date: Sep 30, 2018

Objective:
Evaluate and improve the capacity of the Soil Vulnerability Index to identify areas of varying vulnerability to sediment and nutrient loss for selected physiographic regions of the US with different biophysical characteristics.

Approach:
The Soil Vulnerability Index (SVI) has been proposed by the cooperator as a simple index to assess and plan conservation needs. SVI was initially developed for use in supporting modeling analysis of conservation treatment needs in a consistent manner across large spatial scales. Therefore, it was designed to utilize data that are available broadly and nationally. SVI was validated in the Goodwater Creek Experimental Watershed (GCEW), a 72 km2 watershed in Missouri by utilizing the detailed, localized field scale data and watershed scale analyses available. There is now a need to validate SVI in more sites and in different bio-physical contexts. ARS will use six watershed sites (field scale to ~ 100 km2) that represent different physiographic regions. Local knowledge about the location of sensitive and vulnerable areas at each site will be critical to this project and will require the commitment of individuals with local expertise at each of these sites. Watershed data acquisition, evaluation of the SVI, and, where relevant, vulnerability assessment with alternate indices will be conducted at each location. Guidelines to prepare and send the data, coordination of the tasks, calculation and mapping of SVI using SSURGO and DEM information, comparison between SVI and other potential indices, and synthesis of the results will be provided to each site by ARS in close collaboration and coordination with the cooperator working on this project.