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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Agroecosystems Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333982

Research Project: MANAGING AGRICULTURAL WATER QUALITY IN FIELDS AND WATERSHEDS: NEW PRACTICES AND TECHNOLOGIES

Location: Agroecosystems Management Research

Title: Agricultural conservation planning framework: 3. Land use and field boundary database development and structure

Author
item Tomer, Mark
item James, David
item Sandoval-green, Claudette - Iowa State University

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/31/2017
Publication Date: 6/1/2017
Citation: Tomer, M.D., James, D.E., Sandoval-Green, C. 2017. Agricultural conservation planning framework: 3. Land use and field boundary database development and structure. Journal of Environmental Quality. 46(3):676-686. doi: 10.2134/jeq2016.09.0363.

Interpretive Summary: Conservation planning information is important in identifying options for water quality improvement, and can be developed for use on fields, farms, and in watersheds. However, a key issue impeding progress in watershed projects occurs because watershed improvement goals must be connected with implementation of farm- and field-level conservation practices to demonstrate success. Databases that can be used to apply conservation planning information across these planning scales could help connect field implementation with likely watershed impact. The Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) was developed to enable application of watershed planning information at farm and field levels. The ACPF comprises a planning concept, a database comprising information that enables field- and watershed-scale analyses, and an ArcGIS® toolbox that provides tools to conduct the analyses. The ACPF assists conservation planners identify specific, field-level options for placement of conservation practices. This paper appends two prior publications and describes the structure of the ACPF database containing land use, crop history, and soils information, which is available for download for 5,321 HUC12 watersheds located across Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and parts of Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, and comprises general land use/history information on 2.1 million agricultural fields. The ACPF watershed datasets can potentially be used in a variety of planning and modeling approaches. This database product is of interest to conservation planners and policy makers seeking approaches that carry potential to demonstrate successful watershed conservation outcomes with greater consistency.

Technical Abstract: Conservation planning information is important in identifying options for watershed water quality improvement, and can be developed for use at field, farm, and watershed scales. Translation across scales is a key issue impeding progress at watershed scales because watershed improvement goals must be connected with implementation of farm- and field-level conservation practices to demonstrate success. This is particularly true when examining alternatives for ‘trap and treat’ practices implemented at field edges to control (or influence) water flows through fields, landscapes, and riparian corridors found within agricultural watersheds. We propose that database structures used in developing conservation planning information can overcome the difficulties involved with translation across conservation-planning scales, and have developed the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) to enable practical application in watershed planning. The ACPF comprises a planning concept, a database comprising information that enables field- and watershed-scale analyses, and an ArcGIS® toolbox that provides python scripts to conduct the analyses, which identify specific options for placement of conservation practices. This paper appends two prior publications and describes the structure of the ACPF database containing land use, crop history, and soils information, which is available for download for 5321 HUC12 watersheds located across Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and parts of Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, and comprises information on 2.1 x106 agricultural fields. Sample results examining land use trends across Iowa and Illinois are presented. While designed for use with the ACPF toolbox, users are welcome to employ the ACPF watershed data in a variety of planning and modeling approaches.