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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Agroecosystems Management Research » Research » Research Project #436867

Research Project: Support NRCS States to Use and Adopt the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) for Watershed Planning

Location: Agroecosystems Management Research

Project Number: 5030-13000-011-68-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2019
End Date: Sep 30, 2021

Objective:
The overall objective is to facilitate NRCS’ and partners’ use and adoption of the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) database and toolbox; and, thereby, to effectively use ACPF results in watershed planning and assessment to inform conservation practice implementation and outreach strategies to enhance water quality efforts. Specific objectives: 1. Assessing NRCS's capacity to adopt the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF); 2. Developing ACPF databases and results of analyses for pilot watersheds for field review and conservation planning by local NRCS staff and partners; and 3. Developing training course materials for use by geographic information systems and conservation planning professionals, and providing training to NRCS and its partners in states participating in the project.

Approach:
The objectives will be met by the following: 1. Determine NRCS states’ current status of readiness for ACPF; 2. Support NRCS use of ACPF and planning products in identified priority watersheds and maintain a database of ACPF inputs and results to assist NRCS planners in outreach and implementation of conservation practices sited for greatest water quality benefit; 3. Expand on current training materials and modules, and provide training to NRCS staff and partners; 4. Outline a process that facilitates adaptive use of the ACPF toolbox for watershed planning applications in any agricultural region, which involves adapting existing tools to different landscapes and developing new conservation practice placement tools as appropriate/necessary; 5. Support maintenance of ACPF database development and web hosting through the agreement period to ensure successful completion of all objectives; 6. Develop recommendations for future use and adoption of ACPF; including, training and education, ACPF use in watershed planning, and continued adaptation of toolbox. Participating states will be determined. Teams will be formed across the four collaborators for readiness assessment, development of watershed databases and planning products, and the training effort. Interviews and surveys with conservation planners, along with an assessment of input data availability, will provide the key inputs to the readiness assessment. The ACPF watershed databases and planning products will be developed, following procedures described in the ACPF User Manual. Training team activities will provide ACPF training materials for professional development, extension workshops, and university courses. In-person trainings will be held in each participating state.