Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/20/2012
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Improving the effectiveness of conservation practices for achieving water quality goals will require a conservation planning with a watershed context. Conservation planning has traditionally been field or farm specific, and is usually aided by site specific information that includes topographic data. Light Dectection and Ranging (LiDAR) data, obtained from laser altimetry surveys conducted using aircraft, now provide the kind of detail needed to identify sites that may be suited for a range of conservation practices across landscapes and watersheds. Once developed, this technology could provide watershed stakeholders and landowners a new suite of tools to identify appropriate and cost-effective strategies for conservation efforts to meet water quality goals in watersheds. This chapter serves to demonstrate the use of LiDAR data for siting three different conservation practices in a 6500 hectare (16,000 acre) watershed in Illinois. Aimed at university students, the chapter provides watershed topographic data and examples/instructions on how to evaluate LiDAR elevation data to identify sites in this watershed where wetlands, two-stage ditches, and grassed waterways could be recommended. The importance of on-site evaluations and landowner involvement in conservation planning is emphasized as critical aspects of applying this new technology in a real-world context.