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ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #408209

Research Project: Developing and Evaluating Strategies to Protect and Conserve Water and Environmental Resources While Maintaining Productivity in Agronomic Systems

Location: Soil and Water Management Research

Title: Paired small watersheds assess conservation efforts with producer input

item Feyereisen, Gary
item CARR, NATHAN - Collaborator
item LORE, MERISSA - Collaborator
item Dalzell, Brent

Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/6/2023
Publication Date: 8/9/2023
Citation: Feyereisen, G.W., Carr, N., Lore, M., Dalzell, B.J. 2023. Paired small watersheds assess conservation efforts with producer input. Soil and Water Conservation Society. August 6-9, 2023. Des Moines, Iowa.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Stakeholders with interest in water quality outcomes from agricultural watersheds have voiced needs for increased monitoring of watersheds, assessment of conservation practice effectiveness at this scale—including stacking of practices, and involvement of practitioners in conservation efforts. This study is designed to evaluate conservation efforts in a corn-soybean production system by a paired watershed approach. Hydrology and water quality of adjacent 600+ acre watersheds in Faribault County, Minnesota, are in the third year of measurement. The sizes of the watersheds are strategic: large enough to incorporate landscape features, e.g., field edges, road ditches, and wetlands, yet small enough to apply conservation practices to a high percentage of the cropped area. To date, regression relationship between the watersheds of bi-weekly nitrate-N load (R2=0.93) is good. Local conservation professionals, producers in the watersheds, and researchers are establishing a plan to deploy conservation practices on one of the watersheds to assess impacts. Discharge at the outlet of one of the watersheds is treated by a large, multi-bed bioreactor system, offering the potential to evaluate the stacking of conservation practices. Additional research at/near the site includes assessment of surface/subsurface flow separation, field validation of the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework, ties to efforts to improve drainage modeling routines in SWAT+, and performance assessment of a unique dual-lateral saturated buffer design. This research benefits science and society by providing real-world scientific assessment of conservation efforts with co-learning between researchers and producers.