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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Scaling from Field to Region for Wind Erosion prediction Using WEPS and GIS

item Guanglong, Feng
item Sharratt, Brenton

Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2007
Publication Date: 10/1/2007
Citation: Guanglong, F., Sharratt, B.S. 2007. Scaling from Field to Region for Wind Erosion Prediction Using WEPS and GIS. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 62:312-328.

Interpretive Summary: Accurate estimates of soil loss and PM10 (particulate matter <10µm in diameter) emissions on a regional basis are essential in designing, evaluating and developing alternative cropping systems for improving air quality throughout the Columbia Plateau of eastern Washington, northern Oregon, and the northern panhandle of Idaho. A methodology is presented using the Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) to estimate and spatially characterize soil erosion potential across Adams County, Washington. Based upon annual soil loss from crop land and land in summer fallow, Adams County can be categorized into three soil erodibility classes. The highest annual soil loss occurred in the central part of the county while the lowest soil loss occurred in the south-western and eastern part of the county. Therefore, alternative tillage or cropping systems should be developed for fields in the central part of the county for reducing loss of soil and PM10. The methodology demonstrated in this study was effectively implemented on a county-wide basis and illustrates the possibility of simulating regional soil loss and dust emissions using GIS and WEPS.

Technical Abstract: The Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS) simulates soil erosion and dust emissions from agricultural soils. Due to the severe risk of wind erosion in Adams County, Washington, WEPS and ArcGIS were used to simulate soil loss and PM10 (particulate matter <10µm in diameter) emissions. On a county-wide basis, WEPS predicted an annual soil loss of 14250 kg ha-1 and PM10 loss of 390 kg ha-1 from fields in summer fallow. Soil loss from fields in summer fallow was highest in west-central and south-central Adams County; thus, soil conservation strategies aimed at reducing wind erosion may be most effective in these parts of the county. The USDA SSURGO database classifies Adams County into 6 wind erodibility groups (WEG) with soil loss increasing in severity from WEG1 to WEG6. Our assessment of soil loss using WEPS indicated that soil loss was highest for soils designated as WEG1 and lowest for soils designated as WEG2 whereas PM10 emissions were highest for WEG4 and lowest for WEG2. This study demonstrated that wind erosion assessments and inventories can be made by scaling from field to region using WEPS and GIS.

Last Modified: 06/28/2017
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