Location: Southeast Watershed Research
Project Number: 6048-13000-028-016-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement
Start Date: Sep 19, 2022
End Date: Sep 30, 2027
1. Estimate conservation effects and benefits at regional and national scales. 2. Develop scientific understanding of conservation practice effects at watershed scales. 3. Quantify the measurable effects of conservation practices at the watershed scale. 4. Enhance understanding of conservation effects in the biophysical setting of a watershed. 5. Inform local watershed conservation strategies.
Southeast Watershed Research Lab (SEWRL) scientists will continue to quantify conservation practices that have been implemented on the Little River Experimental Watershed (LREW) and their impact on water quantity and quality within the region. Primary conservation practices within this watershed include nutrient management, conservation tillage, winter covers, and riparian buffers. As part of the assessment, we will quantify relationships between conservation practices, soil organic C, available soil water, and soil N. A combination of field and watershed scale data, field surveys, and remotely collected images will be compiled and validated. Field surveys will assess current cropping systems, rotations, and the use of winter covers. New plot scale research will begin to evaluate alternative winter covers used with common regional summer crops. Advanced image processing software will be used to assess conservation practice acreage throughout the watershed. The conservation practice data will be incorporated into a privacy protected (per Farm Bill guidelines for USDA) geographic information system (GIS). Watershed level characterizations of winter covers and conservation acreage will be made. We will use a combination of observations and computer simulations to expand the utility of the field results. We will work with model developers from the USDA-ARS in Temple, Texas, to incorporate appropriate modifications into the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model that are necessary to describe the unique Coastal Plain Landscape.