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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory » Research » Research Project #438883

Research Project: FY 2020 Conservation Effects Assessment Project - Choptank River Watershed Benchmark Watershed Assessment Studies on croplands

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-13611-029-02-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2020
End Date: Sep 30, 2021

Objective:
This agreement describes a partnership between the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to achieve conservation goals of mutual benefit, as part of the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). Through this agreement, the NRCS proposes to contribute funding to enhance and accelerate the completion of research and assessment, and associated products and outcomes, contained within the ARS National Program 211 Water Availability and Watershed Management 2016-2021 Action Plan, which remains in force through January 2021, including objectives of particular interest to NRCS to support conservation activities. Principal focus of the CEAP Watershed Studies is to evaluate the effects and benefits of conservation practices at the watershed scale, in support of policy decisions and programimplementation. The overall goals of the CEAP are to: • Estimate conservation effects and benefits at regional and national scales; and • Develop scientific understanding of conservation practice effects at watershed scales. The goals of the CEAP Watershed Assessment Studies Components are: • Quantify the measurable effects of conservation practices at the watershed scale. • Enhance understanding of conservation effects in the biophysical setting of a watershed . • Inform local watershed conservation strategies.

Approach:
The effects of conservation activities on water and soil quality will be assessed at the watershed scale using models such as ARS' Soil and Water Assessment Tool, in combination with ARS long-term watershed data sets, expertise, and resources. Problems to be addressed through this agreement include the following four areas: 1.1 New and innovative modeling and assessment tools to quantify sediment and contaminant transport on the landscape. 1.2 Understanding how to select, place, and combine conservation practices to achieve improvements in water quantity and quality in watersheds. 1.3 Improving conserv ation technologies to better protect water resources: Development and testing of new designs, equipment, and materials. 1.4 Ensuring conservation and agricultural management practices can increase agricultural profitability and resilience under changing climate and land use.