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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Reno, Nevada » Great Basin Rangelands Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #327301

Research Project: Invasive Species Assessment and Control to Enhance Sustainability of Great Basin Rangelands

Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research

Title: Rangeland runoff and soil erosion database

Author
item Nesbit, Jason
item Weltz, Mark
item NOUWAKPO, S. KOSSI - UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA
item Li, Sandra

Submitted to: International Rangeland Congress
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2016
Publication Date: 7/18/2016
Citation: Nesbit, J.E., Weltz, M.A., Nouwakpo, S., Li, S.Y. 2016. Rangeland runoff and soil erosion database. In: Proceedings of the X International Rangeland Congress, July 18-22, 2016, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. p. 989-990

Interpretive Summary: The estimated annual costs of damage caused by soil erosion and excessive sediment in surface waters within the U.S. is approximately $6 billion to $16 billion annually. Historically, information on the types, patterns, causes, spatial location, severity, and extent of land degradation through soil erosion at global or national scales have not been available in sufficient detail for developing specific policies for targeting conservation in a cost-effective approach. ARS and its partners have implemented large scale experiments to evaluate rainfall/runoff/soil loss/water quality on rangelands for the last 40 years across the west with standardized sampling design and equipment. These data have not been archived and are vulnerable to being lost as the majority of scientists have retired or are planning on retiring in the next 5 years. The Rangeland Runoff and Soil Erosion Database will classify and display plant community types using the Omernik Level IV ecoregions with sites cross-referenced to NRCS soil series and ecological site databases. Photos of all sites (where possible) will be available for users to compare their sites. Sites will be cross-referenced to publications that can be retrieved through the USDA National Agricultural Library (NAL) associated with these datasets. The database will standardize methods of archiving new experiments in support of the USDA Long Term Agriculture Research mission. Scientists working on this project, with a team of National Agricultural Library (NAL) IT Specialists are developing the relational database using Microsoft Access. The database will be stored on a NAL server for public access and sustainability. This new database (73 plant communities and 2,000 plots/runs) will be utilized to validate and expand the utility of Rangeland Hydrology and Erosion Model (RHEM) for plant communities not currently addressed by RHEM (i.e., salt desert shrubs); develop new equations to estimate total dissolved solids in runoff water; and use RHEM to develop standardized hydrologic section for NRCS rangeland Ecological Site Descriptions that describes optimum vegetation cover for reducing soil erosion and improving water quality.

Technical Abstract: The estimated annual costs of damage caused by soil erosion and excessive sediment in surface waters within the U.S. is approximately $6 billion to $16 billion annually. Historically, information on the types, patterns, causes, spatial location, severity, and extent of land degradation through soil erosion at global or national scales have not been available in sufficient detail for developing specific policies for targeting conservation in a cost-effective approach. ARS and its partners have implemented large scale experiments to evaluate rainfall/runoff/soil loss/water quality on rangelands for the last 40 years across the west with standardized sampling design and equipment. These data have not been archived and are vulnerable to being lost as the majority of scientists have retired or are planning on retiring in the next 5 years. The Rangeland Runoff and Soil Erosion Database will classify and display plant community types using the Omernik Level IV ecoregions with sites cross-referenced to NRCS soil series and ecological site databases. Photos of all sites (where possible) will be available for users to compare their sites. Sites will be cross-referenced to publications that can be retrieved through the USDA National Agricultural Library (NAL) associated with these datasets. The database will standardize methods of archiving new experiments in support of the USDA Long Term Agriculture Research mission. Scientists working on this project, with a team of National Agricultural Library (NAL) IT Specialists are developing the relational database using Microsoft Access. The database will be stored on a NAL server for public access and sustainability. This new database (73 plant communities and 2,000 plots/runs) will be utilized to validate and expand the utility of Rangeland Hydrology and Erosion Model (RHEM) for plant communities not currently addressed by RHEM (i.e., salt desert shrubs); develop new equations to estimate total dissolved solids in runoff water; and use RHEM to develop standardized hydrologic section for NRCS rangeland Ecological Site Descriptions that describes optimum vegetation cover for reducing soil erosion and improving water quality.