Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework: New Approach to Aid Watershed Planning

New approaches to conservation and nutrient management may help mitigate nutrient loading efficiently and effectively.

The approach by Mark Tomer, a soil scientist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service, and his team uses multiple conservation practices that are selected based on their effectiveness in a particular watershed. This information will be useful for farmers to improve practices that are best suited for their land; ArcGIS tools based on this research will be released in the fall.

The article, published in the Journal of Environmental Quality, looks into using spatial data along with conservation knowledge to reduce nutrient runoff. The approach was tested in the Beaver Creek (Iowa) and Lime Creek (Illinois) watersheds wherein-field and edge-of-field conservation practices were tested along with drainage-water management.

Please see the following links for more information on this tool:

Fisher, M. (2015, May 27). New toolset gives farmers more options for improving water quality. Alliance of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Science Societies Digital Library News. https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/story/2015/may/fri/new-toolset-gives-farmers-more-options-for-improving-water-quality

Tomer, M.D., Porter, S.A., Boomer, K.M.B., James, D.E., Kostel, J.A., Helmers, M.J., Isenhart, T.M., & McLellan, E. (2015). Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework: 1. Developing multi-practice watershed planning scenarios and assessing nutrient reduction potential. Journal of Environmental Quality, 44 (3), 754-767.  http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.2134/jeq2014.09.0386

Tomer, M.D., Porter, S.A., Boomer, K.M.B., Porter, S.A., Gelder, B.K., James, D.E., & McLellan, E. (2015). Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework: 2. Classification of riparian buffer design types with application to assess and map stream. Journal of Environmental Quality, 44 (3), 768-779http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.2134/jeq2014.09.0387