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Research Project: Sustaining Agroecosystems and Water Resources in the Northeastern U.S.

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Title: Effectiveness of conservation reserve program buffers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed: 2017 annual report

Author
item Kleinman, Peter
item Brooks, Robert - Pennsylvania State University
item Mccarty, Gregory
item Veith, Tameria - Tamie
item Fernandez, Corina - Pennsylvania State University
item Hagan, Erik - Pennsylvania State University
item Nassry, Michael - Pennsylvania State University
item Saporito, Louis - Lou
item Wallace, Carlington - Pennsylvania State University
item Iovanna, Rich - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item Hyberg, Skip - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)

Submitted to: Government Publication/Report
Publication Type: Government Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/10/2018
Publication Date: 6/10/2018
Citation: Kleinman, P.J., Brooks, R., Mccarty, G.W., Veith, T.L., Fernandez, C., Hagan, E., Nassry, M., Saporito, L.S., Wallace, C., Iovanna, R., Hyberg, S. 2018. Effectiveness of conservation reserve program buffers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed: 2017 annual report. Government Publication/Report. P. 1.

Interpretive Summary: No interpretive summary is required. JLB.

Technical Abstract: Riparian buffers play an important role in watershed strategies to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, with over 20,000 riparian buffers implemented in the Chesapeake Bay watershed under USDA’S Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). This annual report documents an on-going, multi-agency effort to improve the cost-effectiveness of CREP-funded riparian buffers. This effort incorporates conservation records, observational riparian studies, geospatial data, and computer simulations. The project goal is to evaluate the effectiveness of current projects across the Chesapeake Bay watershed and to develop strategies that enhance targeting, implementation, and management of CREP buffers in order to optimize the provision of water quality and other ecosystem services. Hydrologic flow path analysis of buffers in various sub-catchments revealed that ditches and concentrated flowpaths reduced the total effective contributing area to CREP’s forested riparian buffers by approximately 22-78%. When fate-and-transport modeling was used to estimate the implications of these by-pass features, results point to a roughly 40% reduction in the potential filtration of nitrogen and phosphorus in surface runoff water by buffers. Although water quality is an important driver of CREP, it is but one of many conservation goals. Opportunities to improve the water quality outcomes of CREP require an understanding of conservation planning in the field