Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/23/2020
Publication Date: 7/20/2020
Citation: Flanagan, D.C., Wagner, L.E., Cruse, R., Arnold, J.G. 2020. Modeling soil and water conservation [abstract]. Soil and Water Conservation Society. Presentation No. 7.
Technical Abstract: Great strides have been made over the past 75 years towards conserving the United States’ precious soil and water resources. The earliest national soil conservation efforts began in the 1930’s when the USDA Soil Conservation Service (SCS) was created in response to severe wind erosion during the Great Plains’ Dust Bowl. In addition to working with farmers and landowners to implement soil conservation practices on the land, SCS also conducted research at 35 soil conservation experiment stations located across the U.S. These locations provided long-term natural rainfall/runoff plot data that were used in the development of the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE), the first widely used erosion prediction model. Modeling efforts after development of the USLE expanded into effects of erosion on soil productivity, runoff and water quality from agricultural lands, watershed-scale runoff, sediment, and pollutant losses, and systems for process-based predictions of water or wind erosion. Wind erosion research and modeling was a direct response to the Dust Bowl, with the empirical Wind Erosion Equation (WEQ) first published in 1965. This presentation looks back through history at soil and water conservation modeling efforts, describes current state-of-the-art models, and discusses future modeling needs.