Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/28/2009
Publication Date: 4/5/2010
Citation: Zobeck, T.M. 2010. Soil and Water Conservation Advances in the United States-Review and Assessment. In: Zobeck, T.M. , Schillinger, W.F., editors. Soil and Water Conservation Advances in the United States. Special Publication 60. Madison, WI: Soil Science Society of America. p. 263-292.
Technical Abstract: This chapter provides a brief summary of soil and water conservation activities in the past and looks to the future in the U.S. The U.S. is divided into seven regions. A summary of each region presents brief descriptions of the region’s extent, climate, soils, agricultural production, and soil and water conservation issues. This is followed by a description of soil management and assessment techniques and ends with a look to the future soil and water challenges and opportunities in the U.S. Each region described in this book represents a wide variety of crops, soils, climates, and social environments that impacts and constrains soil management options. For example, water is an essential ingredient for crop production and human habitation. In some regions, such as the Great Plains, Columbia Basin, and Southwest, rainfall often needs to be supplemented through irrigation for high crop productivity. This need has been met by the development of water resources through large irrigation projects or through the use of valuable and sometimes non-renewable groundwater resources. In other part of the US, such as the Northeast and Midwest, excess water must be removed from the soil by artificial drainage to allow crop production. In all regions, competition for water among urban and rural uses is an issue. Other issues discussed in this chapter include the use of crop biomass (grain and residue) to generate ethanol or biodiesel biofuels, methods to control erosion and nutrient loss using cover crops and no-tillage cropping systems, soil erosion and quality assessment, and climate change impacts on soil and water management. Different regions in the U.S. have unique resource concerns and issues that demand clear solutions tailored to their specific environment and anticipated changes in climate.