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ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Research Project #438649

Research Project: A Novel Approach for Determining the Effectiveness of Conservation Practices in Reducing Nitrate Losses

Location: Soil and Water Management Research

Project Number: 5062-12130-007-27-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2020
End Date: Sep 30, 2022

Objective:
1) Develop new technologies to map the impact of management practices on nitrate export to streams and ditches. 2) Apply this technology to identify innovative practices that farmers and landowners are using to reduce nitrate losses.

Approach:
1) Assemble and test ultralight, GPS-equipped mobile platform for real-time nitrate measurement in HUC-10 streams and ditch network 2) Collect data - Conduct weekly measurement runs on two selected streams – one in a tile-drained region and one in an undrained watershed 3) Acquire cropland maps and spatial information on locations of conservation practices in each watershed, e.g. - vegetative buffers, saturated buffers, winter cover crops 4) Run Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) software to determine if current placement of practices is consistent with current recommendations 5) Acquire weather, management and soils data necessary to run ArcSWAT Soil and Water Assessment Tool for each watershed 6) Compare model predictions of nitrate transport to measured data to improve model representation of the impacts of conservation practices 7) Do a posteriori assessment of the performance of ACPF