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ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #263023

Title: Buffer placement & effeciency improves when topographic flowpaths are used

item PIECHNIK, DENISE - Pennsylvania State University
item Goslee, Sarah
item Veith, Tameria - Tamie

Submitted to: Extension Fact Sheets
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/10/2011
Publication Date: 2/1/2011
Citation: Piechnik, D.A., Goslee, S.C., Veith, T.L. 2011. Buffer placement & effeciency improves when topographic flowpaths are used. NEPC Extension Fact Sheets. p. 1.

Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.

Technical Abstract: Best Management Practices (BMPs) are used to protect streams by excluding cattle from riparian areas and to filter/buffer run-off flowing from high-intensity use and livestock concentration areas, such as feeding and watering stations. NRCS Conservation Practice Standard (PA-561) recommends placing buffer and filter strips “downslope” from heavy use areas, but these standards do not include topographic flow paths as an approach to increase BMP accuracy and effectiveness. We compared the “downslope” or straight-path method to the topographic flow-path method using topographic data of different pixel size. Coarse topographic data gives information for each 30x30 m “pixel” on the landscape, while the medium (10m) and fine topographic data (1m) give more accurate information on a per unit basis. We found the topographic flow paths were much longer than the straight paths, and the topographic flow paths most commonly entered the stream 85m from the point that the straight-path entered the stream. The fine “pixel” topographic flow paths were the most accurate, but the medium “pixel” data perform well enough to assist planners with more accurate BMP placement. The 10m topographic information is available for public use and available to download from the Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access(PASDA) website.