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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Reno, Nevada » Great Basin Rangelands Research » Research » Research Project #443247

Research Project: Rangeland Ecohydrology and Soil Erosion Course

Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research

Project Number: 2060-21500-001-011-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2022
End Date: Jun 30, 2025

The Rangeland Ecohydrology and Soil Erosion Course is an instructor-led training that incorporates classroom instruction on the basic principles of rangeland hydrology with actual “hands on experience” in the field with a state-of-the-art rainfall simulator. The complexity of rangeland systems is multivariate in nature, and conservation practitioners need to understand relationships between climate, hydrology, soils, and plants in order to assess the implications of management actions. This course is designed to: 1) provide a background on dominant hydrologic and soil erosion processes on rangelands, 2) examine hydrologic changes that can occur in the State and Transition Model concept (plant and site change effects on hydrology and erosion), 3) demonstrate how to access and interpret model predictions from RHEM using examples for selected ecological and climatic conditions in the United States. A further objective is the construction of a new WGRS to support these classes, and the details and uncertainties in that fabrication effort are provided in the Budget Narrative.

The purpose of this agreement is to enable ARS and the Cooperator to work cooperatively to provide courses on Rangeland Ecohydrology and Soil Erosion to train NRCS employees who are responsible for conservation planning involved with Ecological Site Descriptions (ESDs), with specific attention to the use of the Rangeland Hydrology Erosion Model (RHEM). This agreement will cover the development and revision of course materials and participation in the joint teaching of classes for NRCS employees, along with project collaborators from NRCS and ARS. An understanding of rangeland ecohydrology and soil erosion is extremely important for individuals responsible for doing conservation planning on rangelands and for those individuals responsible for developing ESDs. This class will allow participants to understand how the RHEM model can support their site assessments and management plans. This agreement will also fund supplies and labor to work towards construction of a rainfall simulator based on designs for the Walnut Gulch Rainfall Simulator (WGRS). Experience with a rainfall simulator is an important part of this Ecohydrology course and having a new simulator that is dedicated to the Ecohydrology class would ensure uninterrupted availability of the device for classes that are to be taught in the Reno area.