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ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Research Project #437520

Research Project: Conservation Effects Assessment Project - Assessing the Automation of Conservation Planning (ACPF 2019)

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Project Number: 8070-13000-014-49-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 10, 2020
End Date: Aug 31, 2020

This project focuses on building scenarios and modeling the outcome of using automated conservation planning approaches on water quality. Objectives are to: (1) refine products from the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) to produce high resolution recommendations that may be used in nutrient management; (2) develop scenarios for SWAT that represent watershed conservation plans produced by traditional and automated planning approaches; and (3) carry out SWAT modeling of these scenarios

The Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) is a USDA conservation planning tool developed by ARS in the Midwestern United States and now being tested in the Eastern United States. Part of the testing of ACPF is to determine whether planning outcomes with this automated approach yield water quality improvements that are comparable to traditional approaches, which rely upon many hours of effort by trained personnel to carry out the planning process. This project will finalize traditional and automated watershed conservation plans in Conewago Creek, Mahantango Creek and Spring Creek watersheds, convert these plans to modeling scenarios for the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), and model the water quality consequences of implementing conservation using various approaches. Teams of field staff will develop traditional watershed plans (e.g., EPA 319-style, Chesapeake TMDL) while another team will perform ACPF analysis using high spatial resolution data to provide detailed inferences of critical source areas. These teams will work with SWAT modelers to convert the alternate planning approaches into scenarios that can be modeled in SWAT. Finally, SWAT modeling will be performed to quantify watershed outcomes.