Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/11/2020
Publication Date: 9/3/2020
Citation: Wagner, L.E. 2020. A history of Wind Erosion Prediction Models in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Part 2: The Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS). In: Tatarko, J., editor. Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS): Technical Documentation. USDA Agriculture Handbook 727. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, MD. p. 28-56.
Technical Abstract: Development of the Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS) was officially inaugurated in 1985 by United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) scientists in response to customer requests, particularly those coming from the USDA Soil Conservation Service (SCS), for improved wind erosion prediction technology. WEPS was conceived to address deficiencies in the then-20-year-old, predominately empirical Wind Erosion Equation (WEQ) widely used by SCS, and it sparked an endeavor that relied on novel laboratory wind tunnel research as well as extensive field studies to adequately uncover the physical relationships between surface properties and their susceptibility to and influence on wind erosion. The result is that WEPS incorporates many process-based features and other capabilities not available in any other wind erosion simulation model today. The USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) has now implemented WEPS as a replacement for WEQ within their agency. However, the road to achieve that replacement required years of close interaction between ARS and NRCS. NRCS had to ensure they had suitable national-scale WEPS databases before implementation. User input simplifications were required as well as modifications to the reports. Run-time concerns also arose during the lengthy testing and evaluation process. Many of these were strictly non-wind erosion science issues that had to be addressed before NRCS could officially implement and begin using WEPS within their agency. The history of the development of WEPS, its unique features and its solution to selected critical issues encountered by NRCS prior to implementation are presented and discussed.