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Oral presentations for 2006 SWCS annual conference.

2007 Farm Bill

Grazing interaction with Wildlife in CRP grassland management

Klein, J.C

Corresponding author: John C. Klein, USDA-NRCS, Phone: (641)-322-3116, Email:

Wildlife has become a major factor in the selection and management of all current Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts. The taxpayer is demanding a larger return for their CRP funding. They seem willing to collect that return in wildlife habitat development on private lands. Most CRP contract landowners are very fond of the program, and many would reenroll given applicable financial incentives. However, many balk at having to do considerable extra habitat development work unless there is a significant economic return. That return could possibly come from alternative and additional uses of CRP acres.

The Southern Iowa Forage and Livestock Committee and Iowa State University are currently cooperating on a study that seeks common ground in balancing the needs of wildlife and the needs of forage livestock. 2006 will be the second year of a study that looks at methods of partnering these two interests. Results of the first year of study and tentative results of year two will be addressed. USDA seeks to reduce federal expenditures, without a huge reduction of environmental benefits. Allowing grazing after the nesting season on warm season grass CRP acres can provide forage for grazing production,. Timing is critical. This presentation will outline several options available for government policy makers that would continue to produce wildlife while opening CRP acres to limited grazing. This could preclude increased costs of the CRP contract for a multi-year extension.

Conservation intensification and the conservation security program in Alabama

Bergtold, J.S., J.J. Molnar, and M.L. Tallant Corresponding author: Jason S Bergtold, USDA-ARS, Phone: (334) 844-0864, Email:

The Conservation Security Program (CSP), the latest US conservation program introduced in 2004, provides an innovative mechanism for rewarding farmers for conservation efforts and environmental stewardship on their lands. The primary vehicle for achieving this aim is financial incentives in the form of enhancement payments. These payments are provided to farmers for conservation efforts above and beyond levels needed to qualify for the program (e.g. a cover crop in a conservation tillage cropping system). The effectiveness of these incentives and the CSP on farming in Alabama has not yet been analyzed. The program was initiated in Alabama in the Wheeler Lake watershed in spring 2005. The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of the CSP on the adoption and intensification of conservation practices in Alabama. The objectives were to examine the incentives necessary to motivate farmers to adopt and/or intensify management practices for different conservation practices identified in the CSP; to elicit perceptions of conservation efforts and programs; and to identify barriers to participation in the CSP. A survey was administered in three Alabama watersheds to elicit farmers' responses to questions concerning these objectives. Analysis of survey results shows that up to 15 percent of farmers in the three watersheds may qualify for the CSP. Incentive payments for enhancement activities such as intensive rotational grazing, use of a cover crop and annual soil testing should be 50 percent of practice costs to motivate farmers to intensify their conservation efforts.

Environmental assessment of grazing land through modeling

Cook, D., and Sprinkle, J.

Corresponding Author: David Cook, DC Cattle Co. L.L.C., Phone: (928) 425-2524, Email:

In 2002, during the worst drought on record (5.5 inches of rain) we reduced a herd from 143 to 103 head. The USFS informed us that a "full capacity inspection" had been completed and conditions called for complete de-stocking.

We developed a plan with the University of Arizona Extension and the USFS Globe District Ranger to collect range monitoring data to validate the perceived need for destocking.

Meanwhile, the USFS concluded an environmental assessment recommending stocking 33 head on the 24,000 acre grazing allotment.

We agreed to further reduce cattle numbers from 103 to 50 and collect monitoring data. Through the worst drought on record, we managed 50 head on approximately 1/3 of the allotment and never exceeded the allowable use levels. Increases to the stocking rate were granted by the USFS based on these data. Stocking was increased by approximately 25-50% over the next three years. Currently there are approximately 150 head on the grazing allotment with a proposed permit range from 50-150 with natural increase.

In closing, the range monitoring plan, on the ground inspections and partnerships are the key to managing public land grazing permits. We now have had the opportunity to apply USDA-NRCS programs to federal lands in a pilot venture. We must recognize that public land ranching is unique and work collaboratively with shared governance to establish affective coordinated resource management planning. This should be addressed in the 2007 farm bill.

Agroforestry in the 2007 farm bill: realizing the potential to generate conservation and economic benefits for farmers, rural land managers, and communities

Current, D.A., Lherer, N., and Becker, D. Corresponding author: Dean A. Current, University of Minnesota, Phone: (612) 624-4299, Email:

Agroforestry, the intentional blending of agriculture and forestry production and conservation practices to enhance environmental protection, energy security, and income diversification, provides an opportunity for farmers and rural landowners to address pressing environmental problems while generating income. Where agroforestry has particular merit is in providing conservation benefits from a productive system. Agroforestry systems have the potential to: improve the rational management of private lands; enhance US agricultural competitiveness and energy security; provide important environmental services and provide the basis for rural economic development. Despite the potential win-win options that agroforestry could provide, there is little recognition and support for agroforestry in the current farm bill. This paper will discuss the potential economic, environmental and social benefits of agroforestry systems; policy constraints to more widespread adoption that have been identified through learning groups and consultations; and specific areas identified in the form bill where those constraints could be addressed and where support for agroforestry systems could generate conservation benefits. Such changes, if supported by a coalition of environmental, health, and agricultural groups, will play an important role in moving the farm bill towards the support of more sustainable land use in the future.

Environmental impacts of managed haying of Conservation Reserve Program grasslands across the United States

Farrand, D.T., and Benson, V.W.

Corresponding author: D. Todd Farrand, Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, University of Missouri, Phone: (573) 875-5341, Email:

The 2002 farm bill amended the Conservation Reserve Program to allow non-emergency managed haying and grazing on new contacts. This management change was aimed at increasing diversity and quality of vegetative cover and improving wildlife habitat, and was expected to affect approximately 25% of eligible CRP grassland acreage. Use of these practices is limited to no more than once every 3 years, with additional restrictions in environmentally sensitive areas. Further a detailed conservation plan must be in place to ensure long-term viability of the stand while protecting and enhancing the soil, water, wildlife and other resources of the acreage. To estimate the likely environmental impacts of the rule change, we used the Environmental Policy Impact Calculator (EPIC) to model representative CRP grasslands across the nation. We estimated changes in the movement of water, sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus under three scenarios: no CRP, undisturbed CRP, and managed haying. Additionally, we estimated annual carbon sequestration under each scenario. Model results will be useful for informing the 2007 reauthorization debate.

Drainage water management as a BMP to reduce nitrate loss from cropland recommended for emphasis in conservation provisions of the 2007 farm bill

Fouss, J.L.

Corresponding author: James L Fouss, USDA, ARS, Phone: (225) 578-0743, Email:

United States humid region research during the past 20 years has documented that drainage water management (controlled drainage) can significantly reduce (40-50%) nitrate-N losses carried in drainage discharge from cropland. A cooperative action group, Drainage Water Management Systems Task Force, was formed in 2002 by employees of USDA's ARS, NRCS, and CSREES to promote and implement drainage water management (DWM) as a BMP on cropland in the Midwestern States of the Mississippi River Basin. Reducing drainage discharge during the non-cropping season (winter months) can significantly decrease annual nitrate discharged to receiving streams. Planting a cover crop for nitrogen uptake after harvesting the production crop can further decrease annual loss of nitrate from cropland.

The majority of US subsurface drains are conventional drainpipes with gravity flow outlets. An outlet control structure (e.g., overflow weir or valve) can retrofit the conventional drainpipe to a managed system. New systems should be designed and installed for DWM, and deep drains (deeper than 3.0 ft.) should be avoided to reduce the potential for excessive nitrate-N loss in discharge. The deeper the drainpipe (without controls), the greater the amount of nitrate-N discharged. These same principals apply to deep drainage ditches, thus ditch drainage systems should be included in future promotional and implementation programs for DWM.

It is recommended that DWM be included in the 2007 farm bill as an effective BMP to reduce nitrate loss from cropland. A cost-sharing provision should be provided for the cost of retrofitting existing or equipping new drainage systems for DWM.

Adaptive management and CEAP: Linking accountability with better conservation

Manale, A.

Corresponding author: Andrew Manale, EPA, Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation, Phone: (202) 566-2309, Email:

Two important conservation initiatives are separately occurring that, in combination could significantly improve the delivery of conservation programs. Adaptive management, a set of principles for incorporating research into conservation action, is gaining support among ecologists and the wildlife community. By systematically integrating research design, management, and monitoring, it provides a means for addressing the uncertainty inherent in managing natural ecosystems. The result is adapting and learning. On the other hand, CEAP, the Conservation Effects Assessment Project, which arose from the 2002 farm bill, is a federal government-centered effort arising from the public demand for greater accountability for conservation funding and demonstration of results. Through the funding and support of monitoring and evaluation of conservation projects, CEAP establishes a baseline for conservation activities. Though its present focus has been on water quality, the development of new assessment tools and the harmonization of procedures for evaluating results can be applied to other ecological impacts as well. The author explains how the cost-effectiveness of conservation on agricultural and forestry lands across the United States can be improved by applying adaptive management to multiple objectives upon the structure and results of an expanded CEAP.

Colorado producers' preferences for the 2007 farm bill

Prichett, J., Seidl, A., and Umberger, W.

Corresponding author: James Prichett, Department of Ag & Resource Economics, Colorado State University, Phone: (970) 491-7071, Email:

This paper and presentation provide insight into the perspectives of Colorado farms and ranches on programs and priorities for the 2007 farm bill. We will highlight the responses of Colorado producers gleaned from a national survey of tens of thousands of agriculturists undertaken in late 2005 and supported by the Farm Foundation, state offices of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, and, in Colorado's case, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension. Responses to surveys mailed to 2,500 Colorado producers will be analyzed. We will share their insights, relative to other Western states and the United States, augmented by an analysis of historical participation in farm bill programs by Colorado producers. Perceptions, preferences for and participation in Conservation and Energy Title programs will be emphasized, including the CRP (CREP), FRPP, EQIP, and bio-fuel initiatives. Where appropriate comparisons will be made with a similar effort undertaken in anticipation of the 2002 farm bill. Responses will be stratified to reveal potential differential perceptions of small versus high acreage, low versus high sales, program crop versus cattle producers, or Eastern Plains versus Western Slope producers, as appropriate.

Farm/Environmental factors influencing conservation practice adoption and conservation program participation

Sandretto, C.L., Mishra, A.K., and Schaible, G.D.

Corresponding author: Carmen L. Sandretto, Economic Research Service, USDA, Phone: (202) 694-5622, Email:

Recent Farm bill provisions are placing greater emphasis on the environmental outcomes of conservation programs. USDA's farm-level data (the Agricultural Resource Management Survey--ARMS) and field-level data (the Natural Resources Inventory--NRI) will be used to identify the key economic factors, operator, and farm characteristics that influence adoption of selected soil management practices and field/landscape structural measures that are associated with participation/nonparticipation in USDA conservation programs. Improved understanding of the interrelationships between these factors and their role in influencing environmental outcomes will help to inform policy makers and others in efforts to develop policy incentives that encourage voluntary adoption of recommended conservation measures designed to mitigate potential agricultural-based damages to the environment.

The merger of farm/field-level data (ARMS) with field-level environmental outcome data (NRI), will be used to classify farms into several categories based on their USDA farm typology class and geographic region, and their adopted conservation practices and conservation program participation. This effort will involve analyzing relationships between agricultural production activities, economic factors, indicators of the resource base (soil characteristics, etc.), and farm household characteristics (operator age, education, farm experience, principal occupation, off farm work and income, net wealth, etc.) in assessing farm-level conservation performance.

2007 federal farm bill, concepts for conservation reform in the Chesapeake Bay region

Swanson, A.P.

Corresponding author: Carmen L. Sandretto, Economic Research Service, USDA, Phone: (202) 694-5622, Email:

In order to restore the Chesapeake Bay, our nation's largest estuary, and remove it from the federal "dirty waters" list, excess nutrients and sediment polluting the bay must be reduced. The six states within the bay watershed have developed federally approved complex tributary strategies that rely heavily on agricultural conservation practices to achieve their water quality goals. Overall, the bay states are relying on agriculture to provide 68 percent of the nitrogen reductions, 64 percent of the phosphorus reductions, and 90 percent of the sediment reductions. These load reductions require considerable effort and investment, thus increased federal funding and support through the farm bill is of critical importance to our farmers and the bay.

This report describes the process in which the Chesapeake Bay Commission spearheaded over 40 outreach sessions throughout the watershed to develop regional farm bill recommendations focused on improving federal agricultural conservation policy and funding. Farmers, government officials, conservationists, academics and other stakeholders discussed conservation funding, regional distribution and targeting of funds, and other issues including nutrient management, surplus animal manure, farmland preservation, new programs, cultural and political considerations, and the strengths and weaknesses of farm bill programs in meeting pollution reduction goals.

The recommendations contained in this report support successful attainment of Chesapeake Bay water quality goals and strengthening economic viability of agriculture in the watershed. They comprise a blueprint for helping to achieve these goals for the bay watershed and its communities and for others throughout the nation.

To view the report, please see:

Air Quality

A guide to cover crop planting dates

Papendick, R., Saxton, K., Bolton, R., Kunch, T., Kok, H., and Pan, W.

Corresponding author: Robert Papendick, USDA-ARS Pullman, Phone: (208) 885-5971, Email:

Winter cover cropping is a practical conservation measure for wind erosion control in the irrigated Columbia Basin of Washington and Oregon. Many crops grown is this area leave virtually no residue cover, prompting the need for cover crops. At least 30-35 percent cover is needed to prevent exceedances of the PM-10 standard, during the wind erosion periods in September-November and March. Several cover crops, if planted early enough, can achieve this. Since growing temperatures and early frosts limit cover crop growth, a simple guide was developed to assist farmers in the determination of both cover crop type and planting date to reach desired cover levels.

Based on 30-year climatic data, a temperature index map was developed, which greatly simplifies the cover crop growth calculations. Planting dates for rye, wheat, triticale, mustard and rapeseed can be determined through equations or a summary table. Planting dates to achieve 30-35% cover are given for average, warm and cold years.

Agricultural Air Quality at NRCS

Walsh, M., Johnson, G., Heavner, R., Vining, R., Zwicke, G., and O'Neill, S.

Corresponding author: Margaret Walsh, USDA-NRCS, Phone: 202.720.2308, Email:

Research provides a fundamental basis for any potential reductions in agricultural atmospheric emissions. However, interpretation and incorporation of those discoveries into working practice is necessary for realizing that potential. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture applies a cooperative approach, providing land owners and managers with the expertise, information, tools, and financial support to evaluate and implement responsible land management decisions, while incorporating local experience from partners and program participants.

Priority concerns for NRCS's Air Quality and Atmospheric Change work are:

* Particulate Matter

* Ozone Precursors

* Odor

* Chemical Drift

* Ammonia, and

* Greenhouse Gases and Carbon Sequestration.

NRCS's activities focus on addressing these priority constituents through specific enhancements which are identified with observable improvements in agricultural operations. Doing so requires a multifaceted approach, including field and technical experts, technical guidance, easy to use tools, and programmatic support.

With field staff in almost every U.S. county, and a focused Air Quality and Atmospheric Change Technology Development Team in Portland, OR, NRCS has the unique ability to integrate scientific information into relevant management recommendations that are accessible and applicable to producers throughout the country. The result is widespread application of land management technologies and activities which improve air quality.

Case studies of NRCS's multi-scale collaborative approaches will be provided. NRCS is actively engaged in applying fundamental science to on-the-ground practice, reducing the detrimental atmospheric effects of agricultural activities while maximizing benefits to producers and society.

BMP Evaluation/Design

Integrated management strategy for the development and implementation of an atrazine TMDL for Aquilla Lake

Dozier, M.C., Baumann, P.A., Senseman, S.A., Bragg, J., and Spencer, A.

Corresponding author: Monty C. Dozier, Texas Cooperative Extension, Phone: (979) 229-9978, Email:

In 1997-98, Aquilla reservoir was assessed as not supporting its designated use when samples of finished drinking water violated the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 0.003mg/L for atrazine. Aquilla reservoir was placed on the 1998 Texas 303(d) list and an atrazine Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) was developed. Animplementation plan soon followed. To address this issue, several state and federal agencies worked with local farmers. One component of the implementation plan was placement of best management practices (BMPs). These BMPs included preplant incorporation of atrazine, grass filter strips, vegetated waterways, sediment control structures, and others. USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) cost share programs helped fund BMP installation. Texas Cooperative Extension (TCE) provided producer education on BMP effectiveness. TCE and the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station (TAES) established and maintained a network of automatic and passive samplers in several locations in the watershed to collect stormwater runoff. Routine stream water samples and lake and stream sediment samples were also collected. This monitoring effort along with reservoir sampling by the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has been used to validate the effectiveness of BMP and educational efforts in reducing atrazine concentrations. Ambient atrazine concentrations have been reduced by over 60% and current running annual average concentrations for atrazine in finished drinking water are well below the MCL. Based on these reductions, the TCEQ and TSSWCB have recommended the removal of Aquilla reservoir from the 2004 Texas 303(d) list for atrazine.

Compost filter sock research shows storm water pollution prevention performance

Faucette, B., and Tyler, Ph D. R.

Corresponding author: Britt Faucette, Filtrexx International, Phone: (678) 592-7094, Email:

Compost filter socks are generally used to control sediment on construction sites or near land disturbing activities. Higher sediment removal efficiencies of compost filter socks, relative to silt fence, have been attributable to its larger surface area and sediment storage capacity, due to its three dimensional nature. Compost has been widely used to bioremediate contaminated soils. Adding new materials to compost filter media within the sock, these innovative sediment control devices may be used for storm water pollutant removal/reduction applications beyond only sediment. Under laboratory test conditions similar to test methods designed to evaluate silt fence (ATSM D 5141), results from 12 in and 18 in compost filter socks show a TSS removal efficiency of 70% and a turbidity reduction of 74 and 84%, respectively. By adding anionic polymers to the compost filter media, such as PAM or a polysaccharide biopolymer, turbidity reduction can increase from 21% to 90% and 77%, respectively; and TSS removal efficiency can improve from 58% to 90 and 88%, respectively. By adding a polymer to the filter media that can adsorb soluble P, test results show that removal efficiencies from storm water runoff can increase from 6% to 93%. Results from this study indicate that by adding new materials to the filter sock its applications expand beyond being an effective sediment control tool to being a storm water filtration device capable of capturing soluble pollutants useful in a wide variety of applications that can be used to improve storm water runoff and receiving water quality.

Skaneateles Lake Watershed Agricultural Program--Lessons learned from 10 years of implementing best management practices

Kelsey, H.L.

Corresponding author: Henry L. Kelsey, Skaneateles Lake Watershed Agricultural Program, Phone: (315) 677-4630, Email:

Skaneateles Lake has provided drinking water to the city of Syracuse, NY since 1894. In 1994, an ad-hoc task force was organized to initiate a watershed program for the City of Syracuse. The intent of this watershed program was to satisfy requirements of the 1986 Federal Safe Drinking Water Act and NYS Department of Health, the City was required by the New York State Department of Health to commence operation of the Skaneateles Lake Watershed Agricultural Program (SLWAP) in October of 1994. This program features the "tiered approach to whole farm planning," an agricultural environmental management (AEM) process that applies graduated levels of criteria to design site-specific plans. The ultimate objective is to provide a comprehensive planning and implementation process that incorporates pollution minimizing best management practices (BMPs) into farm operations. SLWAP views the tiered approach to whole farm planning as a long-term relationship building, learning, and continuous improvement process rather than simply the planning and implementation of BMPs on a farm. The SLWAP has an unique approach to tiered approach as it implements structural as well as non-structural practices. This presentation describes the implementation and evaluation process in detail of the SLWAP approach. Lessons learned from implementing BMPs on farms with specific examples, documents and experiences will be shared.

Nutrient transport in alternative swine manure treatment systems

McLoud, S.

Corresponding author: Susan J. McLoud, Natural Resources Conservation Service-USDA, Phone: (336) 370-3395, Email:

In the world of integrated livestock production, cropland suitable for applying animal manure is often limited. Numerous technologies and systems have been tried to mitigate negative environmental effects from manure, particularly swine manure. One goal of treatment systems is to reduce the nitrogen and phosphorus content of the waste stream. But where do the nutrients really go? Are they removed from the farm, re-distributed, or simply land applied in altered form?

Variability occurs in the nature of the manure as excreted, the degree to which nutrients are captured in solid or liquid fractions, the temperature and timeframe for manure storage, and other factors. For example, submitting swine manure to mechanical and biological treatments other than land application usually requires solids separation. The separated solids may contain from 12% to 90% of the phosphorus in the manure. Wide ranges may also occur for nitrogen, depending on pre-treatment. Selecting an alternative treatment system requires an understanding of the manure stream from the animal itself through to the eventual utilization of end products.

The specific focus in this presentation is on manure collected from swine housed in slatted-floor facilities, and subjected to one of the following treatment regimes: accelerated solids composting, aerobic and anaerobic effluent digestion, solids gasification or pyrolysis, and biological consumption. The nutrient removal efficiency of these systems is summarized through a review of recent professional publications, and through current FPPC (Farm Pilot Project Coordination) findings for farm-scale demonstration projects.

Crommer ditch: A collaborative evaluation of an alternative drainage channel design in the Midwest

Ward, A., Powell, E., Draper, J., and Word, B. Corresponding author: Andy Ward, The Ohio State University, Phone: (614) 284-0704, Email:

The majority of headwater streams in the Midwest are incised, over-wide trapezoidal agricultural drainage ditches. Geomorphic principles were used to develop an alternative channel design for the Crommer Ditch, Hillsdale County, Michigan. This paper and presentation outline the design, construction, and a performance evaluation of the two-stage channel. The design procedure is outlined and considered:

Bankfull discharge concepts, regional curves, sizing a floodplain width, and channel substrate. The Hillsdale County Drainage Commission constructed the two-stage channel and the construction costs and experience are reported. Significant post-construction channel monitoring has occurred in 2004 and 2005, including: geomorphic features, chemical load, sediment load, and water quantity. Since construction, the main channel cross-sections have narrowed 0.6 feet on average and deepened 0.2 feet on average, thus concentrating the frequent flows. During large in-frequent flows, the water energy is dissipated by spreading out over a 12+ foot wide floodplain on either side of the channel. ISCO automatic water samplers were installed upstream and downstream of the two-stage channel, and a similar trapezoidal channel, to collect water samples at regular intervals each day. The nitrate concentrations exiting the two-stage channel were 27% less than inflow concentrations, compared to a 6% increase between the inlet and outlet of the trapezoidal channel. The total phosphate load of the two-stage channel was reduced by 65%, compared to over 100% increase in the trapezoidal channel. The total suspended solid load in the two-stage channel was reduced by 74% compared to over 100% increase in the trapezoidal channel.

Benefits of vegetated agricultural drainage ditches (VADD) as a best management practice in Yolo County, California.

Denton, D.L., Wrysinkski, J., Moore, M.T., Cooper, C.M., Miller, J.L., de Vlaming, V., Barbour, M.T., Williams, W.M., Rodgers, J.H.Jr., and Robins, P.

Corresponding author: J. Wrysinski, USEPA Region IX, Sacramento, California, Phone (916) 341-5520

Widespread contamination of California water bodies by the orthophosphate insecticides diazinon and chlorpyrifos is well documented. While their use has decreased over the last few years, a concomitant increase in pyrethroid usage (replacement insecticides) has occurred. Researchers have also documented diazinon toxicity pulses in California's Central Valley due to dormant orchard drainage. Vegetated agricultural drainage ditches (VADD) have been proposed as a potential economical and environmentally efficient management practice to mitigate the effects of pesticides in dormant season runoff. VADD have been effective in mitigating simulated pyrethroid runoff storm events in the Mississippi Delta; however, California poses a different scenario in timing of runoff (winter), rainfall intensity, and ditch vegetation and soil types. Multiple lines of evidence will be required to determine the effectiveness of VADD as an applicable management practice in California. This research will incorporate temporal and spatial sampling and chemical testing of water, sediment, and plants, in addition to ditch biological assessments and toxicity evaluations. Initial data will provide baseline information for model generation to predict necessary ditch conditions for appropriate pesticide mitigation. Utilizing a multidisciplinary team approach, the effectiveness of VADD in California will be determined. Such economical and environmentally successful management practices will offer farmers, ranchers, and landowners a viable alternative to more conventional (and sometimes expensive) practices currently suggested by conservation organizations.

Pasture renovation utilizing rotational grazing in the Loess Hills of Iowa.

Jung, J.J.

Corresponding author: Jay J. Jung, USDA-NRCS, Phone: 712-943-6727, Email:

Project focus was on pasture renovation in the unique and sensitive Loess Hills landscape area of Iowa using Rotational Grazing. Our project area consists of a 120 acre pasture in Woodbury County, Iowa that had been neglected and continuously grazed for over fifty years leading to many resource concerns. A rotational grazing system was installed to address Soil, Water, Air, Plant, Animal, and Human resource concerns. The Woodbury County Soil and Water Conservation District, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Farm Service Agency all worked in conjunction to help utilize program dollars to help offset the cost of implementing a rotational grazing system. All resource concerns were addressed and the overall atheistic beauty of the area was improved. Program dollars were successfully used to manage our resources efficiently and effectively.

Study of treated sewage water movement in soil by using subsurface irrigation system

Al-Othman, Dr. A.A.

Corresponding author: Dr Ahmed A. Al-Othman, King Saud University, Agricultural Engineering Department, King Saud University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Phone: +966-1-4675070, E-mail:

In Saudi Arabia, sprinkler irrigation systems including center pivot are used extensively to improve irrigation efficiency. These systems require a large amount of energy and operational costs. Moreover, under hot climatic conditions, considerable losses of water take place due to evaporation and surface run off in this system. The alternative technique could be the subsurface irrigation which has a potential for conserving more water in arid areas by reducing soil surface wetting and thus reducing evaporation. It could offer an energy savings, it does not require delivery of water under high pressure and has the capability of applying water to crops where and when needed. This type of irrigation has many advantages over other methods for certain conditions and has been practiced in different countries for many years.

A study of subsurface irrigation under different lateral spacing was conducted on sand tank in irrigation and hydraulic lab, Department of Agricultural Engineering, College of Food and Agricultural Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of tubes characteristic, laterals spacing, impermeable layer depths, operation pressure on treated sewage water movement in the soil.

Results showed that the lateral spacing could have a tremendous effect on treated water movement in the soil profile. It was found that the depth of the impermeable layers has an effective influence on treated water dispersion in the soil profile. In same time results showed there are vast effects on treated sewage water distribution due to operation pressure and the type of tubing used in subsurface irrigation.

Climate Change

Dynamics of long-term organic carbon storage in northern mixed-grass rangelands

Schuman, G.E., Ingram, L.J., Derner, J.D., Stahl, P.D., and Vance, G.F.

Corresponding author: Gerald E. Schuman, USDA, ARS, High Plains Grasslands Research Station, Phone: (307) 632-6120, Email:

Soil organic carbon (SOC) dynamics were assessed in replicated pastures of northern mixed-grass prairie that were continuous season-long grazed at light and heavy intensities or excluded from grazing after 10 and 20 years following grazing initiation (1982). Grazing at light and heavy intensities increased profile SOC to 60 cm after 10 years compared to no grazing. However, significant SOC was lost from the heavy grazing treatment during the next 10 years compared to light or no grazing treatments. Previously stored SOC mass decreased by 30% in the heavy grazing treatment, indicating that this grazing intensity had significant negative impacts on C cycling during the extended (2000-2003) drought period that occurred during the second 10 year period. This loss in C was supported by carbon dioxide (CO2) flux measurements that showed lower net CO2 assimilation under heavy grazing at a nearby short-grass prairie site. Heavy grazing shifted the plant community from predominately C3 grasses in the light and no grazing pastures to one dominated by C4 grasses, primarily blue grama (bouteloua gracilis). This warm-season species produces significantly less aboveground biomass and has a root system considerably shallower than C3 grasses. This research has demonstrated that proper grazing management can enhance SOC storage on northern mixed-grass prairie, whereas heavy grazing shifts the plant community to a vegetation state that is prone to losses of carbon during extreme climatic events. It remains to be determined, however, if this plant community has the potential to regain lost carbon during drought recovery years.

Conservation Technology and Tools

Field office use of ArcGIS/GPS for conservation planning and application

Bundy, K., Johnson, M., and Hartzold, S.

Corresponding author, Kim Bundy, USDA-NRCS, Soil Conservationist, Phone: (309) 297-0480, Email:

Kim Bundy, Soil Conservationist in the Carthage Field Office, Hancock County, IL, will describe her experience with conservation planning using ArcGIS with Toolkit 2004. Kim has developed detailed maps for prescribed grazing systems and cropland treatment which include multiple practices. Using a variety of symbols and labels the maps guide the client in implementation of their conservation plan.

Mary Johnson, Soil Conservation Technician in the Galesburg Field Office, Knox County, IL, will describe her use of GPS and ArcGIS related to installation of conservation practices. Use includes download of GSP points and tracks for locating practices on planning maps in ArcGIS and upload of information for re-establishment of survey points.

Sharon Hartzold, Resource Planning Specialist for IL NRCS Area 4, will discuss the use of "FO Peer Trainers". The Area Toolkit/ArcGIS cadre consists of two District Conservationists, a Soil Conservation Technician, a Soil Conservationist and the Area Resource Planning Specialist. Cadre members have developed numerous training guide sheets for Field Office distribution. Training sessions ranged from large groups to one-on-one hands-on Field Office sessions. Cadre members also provide trouble-shooting assistance as on-call technical support.

Kim, Mary and Sharon all serve on the Toolkit/ArcGIS Training and Support Cadre for NRCS Administrative Area 4 in Illinois. The cadre has been instrumental in the development of guidance documents distributed to field offices and in providing "hands-on" training for NRCS and partner employees.

Sustainable agriculture and natural resources management collaborative research support program

Dillaha, T.A., Moore, K.M., Datta, S.K.D., and Betelsen, M.

Corresponding author: Theo A Dillaha, Office of International Research, Education, and Development, Phone: (540) 231-6813, Email:

The Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources Management Collaborative Research Support Program (SANREM CRSP) supports applied research and capacity building related to sustainable agriculture and natural resources management in poorer developing countries around the world. The program is funded by the US Agency for International Development and is managed by the Virginia Tech Office of International Research, Education, and Development. The program provides approximately $2.4 million dollars per year in support for collaborative research activities between US and developing country researchers and conservation professionals. Many SWCS members, including current SWCS President Jean Steiner, have participated in the program. SANREM CRSP supports activities that result in the development, cataloging and transfer of technologies for increased income generation and sustainable management of natural resources of small land holders; stakeholder empowerment; strengthened local conservation organizations; improved market access for small-holders and communities; and sustainable and environmentally sound development. The SANREM CRSP is currently sponsoring long-term research activities in more than a dozen countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The objectives of this presentation are to: (1) provide an overview of the SANREM CRSP program; (2) describe current SANREM CRSP research activities; (3) present some of the impacts of past SANREM CRSP research activities; and (4) describe how SWCS members and other conservation professionals have been and may become involved in the program in the future.

Using ESRI's ArcPad in digital conservation planning

Harper, E.W.

Corresponding author: Eric W. Harper, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Phone: (863) 402-6545, Email:

ArcPad has become a valuable tool in field conservation. Using a mobile device (i.e. a tablet PC, laptop, or Pocket PC) and a GPS receiver you can, in real time, conduct a resource inventory of existing and planned conservation practices as well as natural features of the land.

Along with base aerial photography, you can map features as fences, wells, and water troughs for grazing and nutrient management plans. You can also record grass conditions, cattle rates, and other attributes on the farm. You can also record trees, pipe, valves, and emitter information for water management plans.

In addition to resource inventory, ArcPad has been used to assist our field office in wetland determination. This gives the producer/landowner a very detailed and high quality map of their wetlands and surrounding property. This is all done in real time using GPS satellites.

Using GPS is far more accurate and less time consuming then drawing features on a map, which in turn, must to be transferred to digital format anyway. By using ArcPad and GPS we can plan and apply more acres efficiently then the older means.

Using a Tablet PC, we can store large volumes of high resolution photography, allowing us for a more detailed product. I will present my findings of using ArcPad with a Tablet PC and a Pocket PC. Both have their advantages, both have their disadvantages.

Fire rehabilitation measures under the emergency watershed protection program: Some recent Colorado experiences

Kot, L.S.

Corresponding author: Leon S Kot, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Phone: (719) 686-9405, Email:

Recent Colorado wildfires from 2000 on were the result of the most severe drought in the state on record. The fires destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres of public and private land. Impacts from the fires are still occurring, including erosion, occasional fires and fire danger threats from high to extreme. Private land fire rehabilitation methods were primarily based on federal Emergency Watershed Protection Mitigation, a program administered by the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. Voluntary rehab efforts were also undertaken. A brief overview of fires affecting such typical areas of the wildfire urban interface in Jefferson, Park, Teller and Douglas counties, including the Hi Meadow, Big Turkey, Schoonover, Snaking, and Hayman events will be presented.

EWP sponsored efforts to mitigate the damage on private lands will be compared with public land rehab measures. These measures included manual treatments such as hand raking, seeding and mulching, sandbagging, contour and directional felling, straw bale dikes, rock and brush dams, as well as mechanized treatments like aerial seeding (fixed and rotary wing), aerial mulch applications, hydromulching, ATV manipulations and sediment basins. The relative effectiveness of these treatments will be compared and general conclusions made about their cost effectiveness. This evaluation will include both empirical and anecdotal data.

The presentation will conclude with a short discussion of the social factors that affected the timing and availability of the various avenues of fire mitigation funding, as well as how the public land agencies and private landowners have responded to lessons the fires provided.

Precision aerial application technology

Lee, B.G.

Corresponding author: Barney G. Lee, North Star VMS, Phone: (432) 940-4046, Email:

Why should land managers care about aerial application technology? Precision application improves our ability to address problems with the least effects on our environment. With advancements in equipment, we can improve productivity as well as improve the environment. When most people think of aerial application, they only think of helicopters and airplanes. However, ground support equipment has also seen great improvements too. Trucks with DOT spec 406 certification, provides the highest standards in case of an accident or roll over. Doubled walled tanks, measuring devices and rinse capabilities all contribute to quality application. Additional support technology that has benefited the application industry comes from the use of computers in the field. Lap tops and hand held GPS units on the ground complement the GPS systems used by the pilots in the air. Aerial GPS systems, flow meters, flow controllers using ground speed calibrations, and the use of avoidance zones, gives us the precision application needed today. Improvements in boom and nozzle configurations give us more control of where and how herbicides are applied. By using the USDA computer drift model in conjunction with the improved system set up, we are able to minimize the potential of herbicides being applied outside the target area. In most cases using a helicopter with the specifically configured equipment, potential drift can be reduced to approximately .33% of the total spray volume. In conclusion, by the incorporation of all the available technology, we can effectively and safely apply herbicide by the aerial method.

Soil surface-seal measurement using ultra-high resolution x-ray computed tomography

Lee, S.S., Gantzer, C.J., Anderson, S.H., and Thompson, A.L.

Corresponding author: C.J. Gantzer, University of Missouri, Phone: (573) 882-0611, Email:

Rainfall on bare soil breaks soil aggregates, detaching particles, plugging pores and decreasing porosity in the upper few mm of soil. This reduces hydraulic conductivity and increases runoff through a process known as surface sealing. The objective of this study was to describe seal development by measuring macropore (> 1000-Im diam.) and mesopore (200- to 1000-Im diam.) characteristics using ultra high resolution x-ray computed tomography (UHCT) and to relate transient changes in soil porosity measured directly using saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat). Until now, few studies have been done to compare conductivity measurements with ultra high resolution morphological study of intact soil seals, the process which largely controls infiltration. The UHCT permits measurement of seals at a 0.015-mm resolution. Measurement of seal development was done using a factorial design. Factors included a) five rainfall durations (0-, 7.5-, 15-, 30-, and 60-min) with a 55 mm/h rainfall intensity, and b) soil with and without additions of 20 kg/ha polyacrylamide (PAM) on seals created on surface horizon material from a Mexico silt loam (Aeric Vertic Epiaqualfs). Seal macropore and mesopore characteristics analyzed included the number of pores, pore area, perimeter of pores, macropore fractal dimension (fractal D), and pore circularity. UHCT and direct measurements of soil showed that relative bulk density increased 26% after 7.5 minutes of rainfall which corresponded to a 22% decrease in Ksat. This suggests that UHCT analysis of soil can be used to estimate seal effects on water flow.

Interactive internet experiences with watershed concepts: Targeting youth, elementary, and middle school educators

Broz, R., and Madzura, T.

Corresponding author: Robert Broz, University of Missouri, Phone: (573) 882-0085, Email:

Water is costly to purify and transport, impossible to substitute-and essential to food production, economic development, plant and animal life. In the United States over 250 million people depend on rivers, lakes, streams and ground water supplies for their drinking water. Approximately 184 water bodies are listed on Missouri's 2002 303(d) List for Impaired Waters and require immediate restoration to designated uses. Many streams suffer from low water volume, organic enrichment, siltation and polluted runoff. There is need to address surface runoff, groundwater, sediment, in-stream nutrients, wildlife and fish populations from the perspectives of researchers, state and federal conservationists, local citizen-based watershed groups, natural resource interest groups, landowners, farmers, young children plus local officials. MoWIN proposed to develop and disseminate interactive watershed information web sites for use in schools (grades 4-8) in five Missouri watersheds. Objectives included: providing information to encourage participation in watershed stewardship; increasing knowledge and understanding about watersheds and facilitating development of skills to identify and prevent non-point source pollution.

Web site topics included history, agricultural activities and statistics, human impact on the environment, recreational resources, nonpoint source pollution and prevention, plant and animal life plus water quality information: and water-related interactive websites Science teacher workshops were designed and implemented during 2004-2005 to disseminate this information. CDs, brochures and fliers were additional instructional materials made available to science teachers for use in the classroom. Evaluations were positive and requests for additional materials were overwhelming. Dissemination of this information continues through after school programs, teacher conferences, watershed festivals, and other youth related forums and programs.

Effect of inoculation of trichoderma harzianum on the rate of sugarcane bagasse decomposition and produced compost enrichment

Razikordmahelleh, L.

Corresponding author: Ladan Razikordmahalleh, Department of Environment Email:

In this research trichoderma harzianum was used as inoculated in composting, the inoculants was termed compost activator. Mixing trichoderma harzianum as bioactivator with substrates (sugarcane bagasse) reduced composting period from 180 days to 60 days, also effect of inoculation of this fungi on solubilization rock phosphate and increase amount of phosphorus was assessed. Inoculation of fungi increased contents of p in during of composting. Application of sulfur to treatments that inoculated with trichoderma harzianum fungi causes increases quantities of sulfate as well as total fungi populations and electrical conductivity but lower pH and total bacteria numbers.

Therefore, sugarcane bagasse mixed with phosphate solubilizing fungi will produce a phosphorus and sulfate rich compost (in case rock phosphate and sulfur are also used) in the shortest time worthy of distribution to serve not only as an organic fertilizer but also as an inoculants as well as can use as bioactivator and controlling agent for fungi diseases.

Enriching sugarcane bagasse compost by sulfur, nitrogen fixing (azotobacter chroochoccum) and phosphate solubilizing bacteria (enterobacter cloacae)

Razikormahalleh, L.

Corresponding author: Ladan Razikordmahalleh, Department of Environment Email:

In this research the effect of inoculation of compost with nitrogen-fixing bacteria (Azotobacter chroococcum) and the phosphate solubilizing bacteria (Enterobacter cloacea) on N and P contents of the compost was assessed.

To study the production of sulfate and phosphate enriched compost with the help of basic material like sugarcane bagasse as the most readily available source of organic material in the country, elemental sulfur, rock phosphate and bacteria preparation used in 11 treatments with 4 replications in a completely randomized block experiment. I noculation of nitrogen-fixing bacteria into compost increased contents of N and P. Enriching compost with rock phosphate and urea improved significantly the available P when inoculated with Enterobacter cloacea.

Sulfur increased the sulfate concentration of the preparations and that the rate of sulfate increase was greater in the mixtures that contained phosphate solubilizing and nitrogen fixing inoculants along with sulfur as compared with those that contained sulfur alone. The pH values decreased during the experiment for every preparation, however, such decreases were significantly greater for sulfur containing mixture. The increases in the total fungi populations measured at the end of the experiment agree with the lowered pH levels of the mixtures that contained sulfur that provided a suitable environment for the growth of fungi. The EC values of sulfur containing preparations were also significantly different and higher than those of other mixtures because the increasing in the total fungi population had a positive effect on the release of nutrient elements since the fungi posses long hype capable solubilizing nutrient materials. The original of fungi did not known but in the end of experiments with use of PDA culture was determined that total population of fungi that most of them were Aspergillus sp. and Penicillium sp. increased.

Sugarcane bagasse mixed with Enterobacter cloacea and Azotobacter organisms will produce a nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfate rich compost (in case rock phosphate and sulfur are also used) in the shortest time worthy of distribution to serve not only as an organic fertilizer but also as an inoculants.

Using technology for effective natural resource management: Asotin County Conservation District, Washington

Simrell, S., Johnson, B.

Corresponding author: Sara Simrell, Phone: (360) 394-5923, Email:

Effective data management is essential to successful natural resource management organizations to ensure project success, effective partnerships, and informed decision making. This "lessons learned" presentation will demonstrate how Asotin County Conservation District embraced technology and a public-private partnership to achieve these goals.

The first component of successful data management is gathering information--and research and data collection has always been a strength of the natural resource management industry. The challenge organizations now face is effectively organizing and disseminating that information in meaningful ways.

To surmount this challenge Asotin County CD embraced technology and a public-private partnership when they selected EKO-System. EKO-System is a robust, Web-based information management application designed and developed for the natural resource management industry by experienced database professionals and experts in natural resource management, environmental data collection, and government policy.

Prior to implementing EKO-System, Asotin County, with its small, four-person office, was struggling to manage its natural resource management projects and to maintain accountability. This presentation will demonstrate how Asotin is now able to use EKO-System's technology to work more effectively in the following areas:

* Manage large amounts of data with a robust, relational database.

* Respond to multiple funders and board members quickly and with accuracy.

* Evaluate progress visually on a map or with local or regional reports.

* Organize proposed projects to streamline future funding processes.

* Measure progress in order to make better management and policy decisions.

Integrated conservation practices in California's sustainable winegrowing program

Thrupp, A., Browde, J.

Corresponding author: Ann Thrupp, CA Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, Fetzer Vineyards, Phone: (707) 272-1152, Email:

California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) was established in 2003 to implement the Sustainable Winegrowing Program, which was initiated by members of California's winegrowing community to promote sustainable practices for growing grapes and producing wine throughout the state. This comprehensive program includes education, outreach, and demonstration activities about innovative and effective soil and water conservation methods, which will be described in this presentation. With grant support from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA), the CSWA sets up demonstration sites with growers who are incorporating exemplary conservation practices, and provides information to other growers about these kinds of practices that are preventing soil erosion and runoff, conserving water, and protecting watersheds and water quality. This project is using an integrated or "systems" approach, also supporting the adoption of methods that have multiple benefits, such as protecting air quality and ecosystems, as well as conserving water and soil. The project also includes a reporting system to track the adoption of innovations by growers involved in the project. To carry out the project, CSWA is working in collaboration with NRCS, RCDs, UC Cooperative Extension, regional growers associations, and cooperating growers. This participatory approach enables fruitful exchange of knowledge and experiences among many people, and can help to increase adoption of the sustainable practices. The presentation will summarize the project progress so far, and the lessons learned which can be useful for other agricultural sectors and conservation planners.


GIS parcel based methodology for quantifying water demand and water supply in Nevada County, California

Schimpff, M.C.

Corresponding authors: Mike, C. Schimpff, Kleinschmidt Consultants, Phone: (530) 852-4837, Email:

Irrigation districts in rural areas of the western US are asked to supply water to local agricultural and municipal customers. An accurate data-based methodology to quantify existing and projected water demand and water supply is critical to support decision-making regarding infrastructure needs, capital improvements, and service areas. We applied GIS technology to develop a parcel based method to compute current and future water demand as part of a Raw Water Master Plan for the Nevada Irrigation District in Grass Valley, California. The District covers an area of approximately 300,000 acres and maintains 425 linear miles of canal.

Combining the County Tax Assessor's parcel data with the Districts billing database, we spatially identified all District customers receiving treated and raw water. Service area soft boundaries for each irrigation canal segment were identified and the existing consumptive demand for each canal segment was computed. Both average and peak flow demand was computed for irrigation season demand, winter service demand, environmental flows, and system losses and totaled to derive the total annual system demand.

Water demand was projected to the year 2027 using data that spatially estimated future population growth in 5-year increments. Infrastructure was assessed to determine if canal capacity was adequate to deliver the projected water demand. This time step analysis allowed the District to forecast water demand as well as prepare future capital budgets to address system growth. Use of the computerized database and GIS technology will allow the District to easily update its planning information on a regular basis.

Field, city, and stream--Water for agriculture, communities, and rivers

Smith, C.B.

Corresponding author: Chadwin B Smith, American Rivers, Phone: (402) 423-7930, Email:

Persistent drought, agricultural and municipal demand, depleted aquifers, and projections of reduced water supply due to global climate change have increasingly led to calls for the construction of new water storage projects. Today, most of these new projects involve dams that threaten river health and water use sustainability. At the same time that calls for publicly funded new water storage are increasing, federal and state budgets are shrinking. Any evaluation of storage proposals must include a hard look at the underlying economic justification, as well as the cost-effectiveness of water supply options. Scarce public resources should be directed to less costly and river-friendly supply alternatives, such as aquifer recharge, dam reregulation, storm water capture, and conservation and efficiency improvements. This presentation will explore the problems new water storage projects pose for rivers and will discuss how to meet important water needs with alternatives that also protect in-stream flow, river health, and long-term water supply. It will also provide information about the tools necessary for citizens to actively engage in discussions about new water storage projects and meeting water needs, and will offer an opportunity for the audience to provide ideas and examples for developing a consistent approach to protecting river health and meeting water needs in the face of drought.

Fish/Wildlife Habitat

The national fish habitat initiative: Cooperative conservation in action

Busiahm, T., and Bolton, H

Corresponding author: Tom Busiahn, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Phone: (703) 358-1866, Email:

Loss and alteration of aquatic habitat are primary reasons for the alarming decline in many of America's fish and other aquatic resources. This is a concern to 44 million anglers who pursue fish recreationally and to countless others who depend upon fish for sustenance and commerce. A tremendous amount of work has been undertaken to protect, restore and enhance aquatic habitats; while significant gains have been realized, they have not kept pace with impacts of population growth and land use changes. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is working with diverse partners--including states, NGOs and industry--to develop the National Fish Habitat Initiative (NFHI) to protect, restore, and enhance the Nation's fish and aquatic communities through partnerships that foster fish habitat conservation and improve the quality of life for the American people.

The partnership has developed the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (Plan), and submitted the Plan for approval to the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. The Plan will foster geographically-focused, locally driven, and scientifically based partnerships that will work to reverse the decline of fish and aquatic species. Conservation of aquatic habitats will be improved as a result of better coordination and direction of public and private resources to prioritized conservation challenges. The Plan's ultimate success depends on engaging more partners to achieve the vision of healthy fish, healthy habitats, healthy people, and a healthy economy.

Evaluation of revegetation technologies for restoration of bull trout (Salvelinius confluentus) habitat and shoreline woody vegetation, Hungry Horse Reservoir, Montana

Lair, K.D., Grabowski, S., and Marotz, B.

Corresponding author: Kenneth D. Lair, Bureau of Reclamation, USDI, Phone: (303) 250-9187, Email:

Hungry Horse Dam is a Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) hydropower project, operated in conjunction with the Bonneville Power Administration in the upper Columbia River Basin. The principal fish species of concern in the reservoir and tributaries is the federally threatened bull trout, Salvelinus confluentus. Recent changes in federal protocols that regulate reservoir levels for flood control, power generation, and minimum flows for anadromous fisheries result in frequent drafts, including high-volume releases during the spring refill period. Repeated annual draft-and-fill regimes have depleted native woody vegetation in littoral shoreline habitats, reducing hiding cover for juvenile bull trout entering the reservoir from spawning tributaries. The BOR is leading an interagency research effort to assess the feasibility of re-establishing diverse, native woody species under these environmental constraints.

Field trials were initiated in 2004 to evaluate use of direct cuttings and containerized plant materials (grown from seed and field cuttings); inundation depths and duration within the upper littoral zone; and augmentation of plants with tailored combinations of nutrients, mycorrhizae and/or polyacrylamide polymer. A suite of nine native plant species anticipated to tolerate the cyclic inundation and drawdown conditions are evaluated, including local on-site harvest as well as local-source commercial stock. Results of plant survival, productivity and vigor over the annual course of inundation and desiccation will guide selection of plant species and planting methods for more widespread use in revegetating suitable portions of drawdown zones surrounding regional lakes. Study objectives, hypotheses, experimental design and first-year (reservoir pre- and post-fill; pre-winter) results will be discussed.

Quantifying habitat benefits of conservation: The CEAP wildlife component

Rewa, C.A.

Corresponding author: Charles A. Rewa, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Phone: (301) 504-2326, Email:

The Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) is a multi-agency effort to quantify the environmental benefits of conservation practices applied by land users participating in various US Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation programs or who otherwise receive technical assistance from USDA conservation planners. Initiated in 2005, the CEAP Wildlife Component involves a variety of assessment elements, most of which are applied at regional scales. Through a partnership between the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (IAFWA), regional workshops involving personnel from state fish and wildlife agencies and others have been conducted to identify regional assessment priorities and lay out approaches to evaluating the benefits that agriculture conservation practices provide to fish and wildlife resources. Approaches defined by these regional activities are described and progress made toward meeting regional assessment objectives presented. The relationship between regional assessments and the national work plan for the CEAP Wildlife Component is discussed.

Land Use Planning

Urban-fringe landowners' preferences for particular farmland preservation programs

Bai, Q., Kraft, S.E., and Esseks, J.D.

Corresponding author: Steven E. Kraft, Dept. of Agribusiness Economics, SIUC, Phone: (618) 453-2421, Email:

Evaluation of policies to preserve agricultural land has been ongoing for decades. Attitudinal behavioral models are recommended as good predictors for specific behaviors, such as farmers' land-use decisions. There are two approaches to constructing a behavioral model: from the perspective of administrators or from the perspective of the target group. Most up-to-date policy evaluations take the administrator perspective; they are normative in the sense of achieving the claimed preservation goals.

Landowner/farmers are passive in the analysis. A few studies take the perspective of targeted landowners at the outset. The spatial sensitivity of a preservation policy is attainable by detecting heterogeneity in choice behaviors among targeted individuals or groups across space. The high cost of obtaining spatial information and the exponential increase of data volume render most behavioral models to presume spatial homogeneity. However, spatial homogeneity is a troublesome assumption for efficiency studies of spatial-sensitive policies. AFT conducted an urban-fringe landowners' survey on farmland preservation programs in 2001 and 2002. 1617 Responses were collected from:, NY, WI, MI, CA, TX. The minimum tractable spatial information for a respondent is the "county" that his/her property is located in. The heterogeneity in choice among counties is of particularly interest to this research. In the paper we (1) trace out the causes for participation and non-participation in preservation programs; and (2) confront the possibility of spatial heterogeneity and its policy implications by using the Heteroscedastic Generalized Extreme Value model and probit analysis.

Targeting cooperative conservation initiatives to support conservation and military training at Fort Carson, Colorado

Belew, G.L.

Corresponding author: Gary L Belew, Directorate of Environmental Compliance & Management, Fort Carson, Colorado, Phone: (719) 526-1694, Email:

Fort Carson is a leader in sustainability by pro-actively seeking partners to cooperatively conserve natural resources, while concurrently supporting and maintaining the training mission. The Fort Carson Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program, Grcenprint initiative, Central Short-grass Prairie Eco-regional Assessment (CSPA), Peak-to-Prairie Initiative and Front Range Eco-Regional Management Team (FREMT) are core elements of a regional management strategy that is successfully focusing conservation efforts of local, state and federal agencies to collaboratively manage the Central Short-grass Prairie Ecosystem.

The ACUB program, has facilitated over five thousand acres of conservation easements that will secure the installations boundaries from encroachment, while concomitantly protecting critical rare plants and prairie ecosystem. Protection of properties having high conservation value and potential for developmental encroachment will lessen regulatory impacts to training while facilitating cross boundary management. This effort is supported by the Fort Carson Greenprint initiative that focuses on sustaining training resources and flexibility by planning beyond the fence-line, with the CSPA focusing management efforts by assessing regional conservation priorities and threats. The FREMT is a consortium of seven military installations in Colorado and Wyoming that provides the collaborative link necessary for the military to meet regional strategic mission requirements and facilitate regional short-grass prairie management. Finally, the Peak-to-Prairie initiative provides the capability to manage contiguous landscapes to facilitate ecosystem management principles and practices.

This cooperative conservation program facilitates the identification of common goals, sharing of resources, lessens the overlap of efforts, develops strategic visions, resulting in collectively maximizing the benefit for natural resources conservation.

A road to sustainability

Black, P.E.

Corresponding author: Peter E. Black, SUNY ESF, Phone: (315) 470-6571, Email:

While noting the wonder and ecology of water, I've become more and more concerned about sustainability. Water plays an integral role in most other resources, including of course, life. The distribution of water is asymmetrical in the extreme. Indeed, all our natural resources are distributed that way. The pattern is universal, and underlies the Resource Buffer Theory that implies that the large proportion of the asymmetrically distributed resource is a buffer on which we depend for the conditions that both enabled life and ensure its sustainability. Water's unique properties and universality mean that it is civilization's canary in the coal mine: if the water and associated environmental conditions are having problems, humans are having problems. Like drought, which creeps up on us and has no apparent beginning, the current environmental changes are harbingers of a future wherein the most endangered species on the planet is us, the most invasive of species. We are exacerbating--and in some cases causing--those threats. Humans violate the universal pattern of carbon distribution by our numbers and by the conversion of insignificant proportions of the huge inorganic carbon buffer into the relatively miniscule carbon dioxide buffer with enormous impact. Two examples of how we can emulate the natural distribution of resources are presented. Hopefully, the time to act is not beyond our reach; there are some identifiable policy and management implications of these observations about the universal pattern of resource distribution, things we can and must do to have a chance at human sustainability.

Plant a Million

Eddileman, B.

Corresponding author: Bob Eddleman, Hoosier Heartland RC & D Council, Phone: (317) 290-3250, Email:

This presentation will cover the need for tree planting in both urban and rural areas of Central Indiana and how it is being addressed by the local RC & D Council and Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

The six to ten year project, called Plant a Million, has two primary objectives:

1. To educate people about the benefits of trees and their management.

2. To help the citizens of Central Indiana plant a million or more native trees in our ten-county area.

Trees across Central Indiana have been impacted by development, storms, ice, disease, and mismanagement. In urban settings, many trees are aged and are not being replaced. The current tree canopy coverage in Indianapolis is 16 per cent, far below American Forests recommended 40 per cent for cities. Rural areas have lost trees as wooded areas are converted to subdivisions. Subdivisions have taken the place of agricultural land and open spaces where no pre-construction trees existed and little is done to provide consistent tree planting once homes are built.

Trees clean the air of ash, pollen, dust and other particles. Trees produce oxygen, protect water quality, cool cities and towns, absorb storm water and bring song birds and other wildlife to our neighborhoods and farms.

This unique project brings together diverse partners to work on tree planting efforts and educational outreach to benefit generations to come. The presentation will include how the need for the project was identified, how the campaign was developed, and the challenges of partnering, funding and marketing.

NAIP imagery for Kentucky: On-line data and tools to measure landscape change

Zourarakis, D.P., Anness, Ki., Anness., Ke, Brenner, A., and Harp, G.R.

Corresponding author: Demetrio P. Zourarakis, Remote Sensing and GIS Analyst, Kentucky Division of Geographic Information, Phone: (502) 573-1450 ext. 34, Email:

The National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP) has provided the state of Kentucky with current, state-wide high resolution digital photography. Following the re-projection of the original data, this imagery was used by the Kentucky Division of Geographic Information to update its base map, served by its various Web mapping services--or "portals" (e.g. the Commonwealth Map at The imagery will eventually be available for downloading, adding to the state's significant data holdings, collectively known as the KY Geonet ( These efforts are in concordance with the National Map ( and the Geospatial One Stop ( initiatives.

The NAIP imagery was also utilized in the Kentucky Landscape Snapshot (KLS) project, a NASA-funded effort, part of which focused on prospective change detection between early 2000's and more recent imagery. Of particular interest are changes in land cover-related parameters; the increase in imperviousness and the decrease in canopy closure are such indicators of change Kentucky is experiencing through development and deforestation activities. Another NASA-funded project, the Kentucky Landscape Census (KLC) calls for the creation of on-line land cover change detection capabilities where the user can compare images from different epochs and the resulting land cover change--or land cover class migration--matrix.

NAIP data products--the original imagery and derived remote sensing products--may contribute to the integration of high with medium to low resolution imagery from different time slices, all contributing to increased knowledge of the status of land use and land use trends in the Common wealth.

Monitoring/Estimating/Reporting Results

Effects of agricultural land retirement on quality of streams of the Minnesota River Basin

Christensen, V.G.

Corresponding author: Victoria G. Christensenm, US Geological Survey, Water Science Center of Minnesota, Phone: (701) 277-0682, Email:

The Minnesota River Basin located primarily in the state of Minnesota, lies within the Midwest Corn Belt, one of the most productive and intensively managed agricultural regions in the world. To address concerns about degradation of streams in this and other basins in Minnesota, Governor Tim Pawlenty has requested funding to retire an additional 100,000 acres of agricultural lands (200,000 acres currently are in set-aside programs) to improve water quality and aquatic biodiversity in streams and rivers. The Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources and the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources are cooperating with the US Geological Survey to study the effects of agricultural retirement programs, such as Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), and large-scale best management practices (BMPs), on streams. The three subbasins selected for intensive study are Chetomba Creek, Beaver Creek, and South Branch Rush River, which range in size from 52,500 to 76,200 acres. The subbasins have similar geologic and hydrologic settings, but differ with respect to the amount, type, and location of fallow land. Each are monitored for stream-flow, sediment, nutrients, fish diversity, physical habitat characterization, and other biological and physical measurements. Data and analysis from this study will be used by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources to evaluate the success of agricultural BMPs and land retirement programs for improving stream quality.

Restoration of degraded agricultural lands in the San Joaquin Valley (California) using herbicides and activated charcoal

Lair, K.D., Ritter, N., and Howard, A.

Corresponding author: Kenneth D. Lair1, Nur Ritter2, Adrian Howard2

1Bureau of Reclamation, USDI, Technical Service Center, Denver, CO, 2Endangered Species Recovery Program, California State University--Stanislaus, Fresno, CA

Soils of the western San Joaquin Valley (California) are characterized by high salinity, limited rainfall (ca. 25 cm yr-1), depauperate native seed banks, poor drainage, and high concentrations of selenium and boron. A significant portion of the area's agricultural land (200,000 acres) has been targeted for retirement from irrigation and/or cropping. Restoration of former agricultural lands to native plant communities is problematic because of immediate encroachment of annual grass (Bromus, Avena and Vulpia) and broadleaf (Brassica, Sisymbrium, and Atriplex) weeds upon cessation of cropping. Tapping technology from the turfgrass seed industry, this study evaluates use of activated charcoal to ameliorate effects of broadcast herbicides by means of banding charcoal over drilled seed rows as a safener.

Four native species (Great Valley phacelia, Phacelia ciliata; Great Valley gumweed. Grindelia camporum; Mojave seablite, Suaeda moquinii; and cattle saltbush, Atriplex polycarpa) were seeded into a fallowed, mustard-dominated (London rocket, Sisymbrium irio) site. Activated charcoal (GroSafe[TM]) was applied with seed drilling by spraying a 3"-wide slurry band over the drilled rows, or by incorporating dry charcoal powder with the seed through the drill. Five herbicides were applied immediately following seeding: sulfometuron methyl + chlorsulfuron, oxyfluorfen, chlorsulfuron, clomazone and sulfentrazone. In combination with charcoal safening, oxyfluorfen significantly reduced the average cover of non-native weeds while increasing establishment of native species. Clomazone and sulfentrazone showed similar results on selected species. Chlorsulfuron and [chlorsulfuron + sulfometuron methyl] were extremely effective on all weeds, but also severely constrained emergence and/or growth of seeded species, even with charcoal safening.

Sprague River Watershed Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP)

Everett, M., and Nelson, T.

Corresponding author: Terry Nelson, USDA NRCS, Phone: (503)-414-3014, Email:

The Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) was initiated by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to evaluate the natural resource (physical and biological) benefits of implementing conservation on the land through USDA Farm Bill and other programs.

The Sprague River Watershed was nominated by Oregon NRCS as a special emphasis watershed because many landowners have or are in the process of implementing conservation. Also the National Academy of Science and others have identified the Sprague River Watershed as a priority for conservation and restoration activities in the Upper Klamath Basin to resolve issues associated with the conflict of irrigation water demands and endangered species, exacerbated by drought.

The study will rely on field-scale and regional monitoring to calibrate and validate the DHI MIKE SHE hydrologic model. MIKE SHE is an integrated surface and groundwater model that can simulate the entire land phase of the hydrologic cycle. The model will be used to simulate the cumulative effects of future conservation alternatives and management scenarios. MIKE SHE will be used to help us understand the effects of conservation practices to increase irrigation delivery and application efficiencies, restore wetland and riparian areas, and improve forest and rangeland health. In addition, the effect of implementing conservation practices and through a collaborative, interagency approach will be monitored to determine the change in stream flow but also, in water quality and habitat.

The model output includes a comprehensive accounting of the water budget. This water balance output allows us to better understand the percentage of water that resides in the ground, on the surface, in the river, and that which is evapotranspirated to the atmosphere. The preliminary model runs will enable us to build complexity in each of the model components at differing spatial and temporal scales. Monitoring data collected as part of this project consists of ground and river water levels, precipitation, and spring discharge. This data will be used to calibrate and validate the complex, comprehensive model which will then be used to estimate the effects of different resource management scenarios.

The results of the study will assist agencies and landowners make better decisions on selection and implementation of conservation practices to address water quantity, water quality and habitat issues facing the Upper Klamath Basin.

Core indicators of soil and water conservation & maintenance for sustainable rangelands

Child, R.D., and Mackzo, K.

Corresponding author: R. Dennis Child, Colorado State University, Phone: 970-491-3316, Email:

Rangeland sustainability is the capacity of rangelands to maintain health, productivity, diversity and overall integrity, from generation to generation, in the context of human activity and use. The ecological-social-economic systems comprising rangelands are complex, therefore multiple indicators are necessary to assess their sustainability and target goals for effective planning and management. Since it's inception in 2001, Sustainable Rangeland Roundtable (SRR) participants have included rangeland scientists and managers, ecologists, sociologists, economists, policy and legal experts, environmental advocates, agency staff, and industry representatives. SRR's First Approximation Report, released in 2003, outlined 64 indicators of rangeland sustainability divided among 5 categories or criteria. These indicators have been refined to a core set of 27 indicators that provide baseline information for targeting management goals. Following are SRR's six core indicators of Soil and Water Conservation & Maintenance:

1. Area and percent of rangeland soils with significantly diminished organic matter and/or high Carbon: Nitrogen (C:N) ratio.

2. Area and percent of rangeland with a significant change in extent of bare ground.

3. Area and percent of rangeland with accelerated soil erosion by water or wind.

4. Percent of water bodies in rangeland areas w/ significant changes in natural biotic assemblage composition.

5. Percent of surface water on rangeland areas with significant deterioration of their chemical, physical, and biological properties from acceptable levels.

6. Changes in the frequency and duration of surface no-flow periods in rangeland streams.

This paper explores the feasibility of monitoring soil and water conservation using six indicators and their linkage to other indicators of rangeland sustainability.

A piecewise regression model to estimate soil moisture

Ramirez, N.D., Calderon, C., Vasquez, R., and Harmsen, E.

Corresponding author: Nazario D. Ramirez, University of Puerto Rico, Phone: (787) 265-3819, Email:

Direct methods to estimate soil moisture using microwave remote sensing techniques provide reasonable estimates in regions that have either bare soil or low to moderate amounts of vegetations cover; however, the technique has limited value for regions with dense vegetation cover. The main purpose of this study was to develop, validate and apply an algorithm to estimate monthly average soil moisture over densely vegetated areas. Estimation of soil moisture is a complex process since it is the result of the interactions of many variables. In this study, a small number of the most relevant variables, which control soil moisture dynamics, were selected based on results from several field experiments. In these field studies, soil moisture exhibited spatial and temporal variability that was mostly associated with rainfall patterns, soil texture, vegetation index, air temperature, and topography. A piecewise regression model was used to express the monthly soil moisture at a 1 km resolution. The proposed algorithm was successfully implemented and validated for Puerto Rico climate conditions. This algorithm can also be implemented over different climate conditions as long as rainfall and textural information are available. Cross-validation results showed that the model provided an average absolute error in the soil moisture content of 6 percent. The model was used to estimate the surface soil moisture content over the 8,701 km2 area of Puerto Rico for each month between January and June, 2005. Results from the model could potentially be useful to create soil moisture initial conditions required by atmospheric and hydrological models.

Policy-program Evaluation/Reform

Status of revision for concentrated animal feeding operations regulations

Wiedeman, A.

Corresponding author: Allison Wiedeman, Chief, Water Permits Division, EPA, Phone: (202) 564-0901, Email:

EPA issued the revised regulations for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) on Feb. 12, 2003. With full implementation. EPA estimated that the rule would result in an annual reduction of over 166 million pounds of nutrients which represents a 25% reduction from current levels in runoff from CAFO operations. In addition, the rule would result in annual reductions of more than 2 billion pounds of sediment and more than 911,000 pounds of metals, as well as significant percentage reductions in pathogens. These regulations require zero discharge of manure and process wastewater from the production area (except in the case of very large storms), and for the first time, regulate discharges coming from a CAFO's land application area. As of May 2005, approximately 40% of the 18,500 CAFOs in this country are covered by NPDES permits. Additionally, 24 states have revised their state statutes and/or regulations to comport with the new regulations.

Shortly after the regulation was promulgated, court challenges to the regulations were brought by animal production industry groups and by environmental interests. Oral arguments were presented to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in December 2004, after which the court made its ruling on February 28, 2005. This paper will briefly cover the February 2003 rule, its status of implementation, the 2nd Circuit Court decision, and EPA's status in revising the rule.

Effects of federal environmental protection acts on "pristine" streams in eastern Kentucky

Cherry, M.A., Barton, C.D., and Kolka, R.

Corresponding author: Mac A. Cherry, Univeristy of Kentucky, Department of Forestry, Phone:(859)-257-8289, Email:

Potential effects of the Clean Air Act of 1970 (CAA) and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) were investigated in several streams located at Robinson Forest in eastern Kentucky. Sulfur dioxide emissions were reduced by 43% in Kentucky from 1980 to 1999 as a result of CAA implementation, which coincided with a 77% reduction in wet deposition sulfate concentration at Robinson Forest. Streams within the forest that were bordered by contiguous forest exhibited a 30% reduction in sulfate concentrations during this period, while other watersheds that were bordered by minelands have observed a 7% increase. The increase in sulfate levels corresponds to the time period when SMCRA was implemented. A study was conducted to identify factors that may be contributing to the increase. Stemflow and throughfall were stratified by forest type and sampled to determine if dry deposition or biological inputs contributed sulfate to the streams in question. No statistical differences were observed for wet deposition or throughfall between any of the forests types; one forest type (white oak) exhibited statistically different stemflow chemistry. Given that stemflow represents a small fraction of the watersheds hydrological budget (<5%), and that sulfate concentrations were well below those of the stream (23 vs. 83 mg L-1), the influence of stemflow on stream chemistry was nominal. We suspect that changes in reclamation practices pertaining to the regrading of spoil as outlined in SMCRA have influenced the observed changes via alterations of subsurface flow paths between the mined and unmined watersheds.


A watershed report card: Social considerations in the establishing and implementing of TMDLs

Brant, G.

Corresponding author: Gail Brant, USDA/NRCS, Phone: (610) 792-9207, Email:

The quality of water in a waterbody can be measured scientifically by pollutant loadings. The sources of pollution and the allocation of pollutant loadings are the foundations of the TMDL process. The purpose of this paper is to examine the social considerations in establishing and implementing TMDLs, with a specific emphasis on the agricultural interests and nonpoint source pollution. There are many and varied stakeholder interests, social connections and disconnects in establishing, implementing and measuring progress in the TMDL process. Assessing, monitoring, and evaluating non point source pollution, identifying stakeholders, representing stakeholder interests in locally led activities, building partnerships, voluntary adoption of conservation practices, "top down" regulation and maintaining momentum are social considerations that require scoring on the water quality report card. The social considerations will be discussed in terms of common themes occurring in the literature as well as findings from field discussions and work in selected watersheds. Commonalities and disconnects linked to the TMDL process will be reviewed. Recommendations for strengthening the TMDL process, thus improving report card scores at the local watershed level will be outlined.

Modeling of economic impact on implementation of conservation reserve enhancement program in the long branch watershed in north central Missouri

Broz, R.R., Kurtz, W., Johnson, T., and Baffuat, C.

Corresponding author: Robert R Broz, University of Missouri, Phone: (573) 882-0085, Email:

Northern Missouri uses many surface water reservoirs for public drinking water. To protect these reservoirs from potential contaminants associated with agriculture, Missouri initiated the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in 17 watersheds in 2000. Long branch Lake is a public drinking water reservoir with a watershed of approximately 68,000 acres. Approximately 40% (27,000) acres is cropland. To protect water quality in the lake, approximately 4,100 acres have been enrolled in CREP. This provided landowners with environmental incentive payments of $322,564 for the first year and a total of $4,811,537 in payments for the life of the program. Many farmers who signed up for CREP and received payments are not putting the funds back into the local economy. An economic analysis model conducted in the Long Branch watershed demonstrated that the loss of economic potential when farmers don't hire farm hands, buy seed, fertilizer, pesticides or have vehicle maintenance expense resulted in a loss of 25.7 jobs in the watershed and a reduced personal income of $248,000. The multiplying affect of agricultural production provides the community with needed revenues to provide infrastructure for roads, schools, and new business. The environmental benefits, in terms of reduced soil, nutrient and pesticide runoff were proportional to the amount of land withdrawn from production. Removing land from agricultural production may have environmental benefits but may cause an economic hardship in rural communities unless targeting environmental sensitive areas can reduce the amount of land being taken from production while obtaining higher environmental benefits.

Municipal biosolids--Their economic value in a winter wheat--Fallow cropping rotation

Lagae, H., Barbarick, K.A., Davies, S., and Lybecker, D.

Corresponding author: Hubert Lagae, Colorado State University, Phone: (785) 532-6916, Email:

Since farmland application of municipal biosolids (processed sewage sludge) is increasing, and can be beneficial in terms of nutrient recycling and municipal waste disposal, we need to understand not only its effects on soil and crop characteristics but also its economic value. Derivation of biosolids economic value is critical to farmers so that they can make efficient management decisions. This study analyzed data from an agronomic research project using Littleton/Englewood (suburbs of Denver), CO biosolids in a winter wheat (Triticum aestivum, L.)-fallow rotation. Through multiple regression analysis the key variables affecting grain yield were identified and their effects estimated. The biosolids effect was derived from the regression results using several different functional forms. The marginal value product (MVP) and total value product (TVP) of biosolids was estimated given a range of wheat prices. Using the quadratic functional form and with wheat prices ranging from $5.00 to $15.00 (100 kg)-1, the MVP varied from $1.50 to $4.52 ha-1, and the TVP from $12.97 to $38.90 ha-1 with biosolids application every other year at a rate of 6 Mg ha-1 over a period of 7 years. Applying biosolids at agronomic rates can have a significant positive impact on crop yield and can significantly increase net revenue per hectare.

Lime and nitrogen fertilization effects on cotton profitability for alternative winter cover and tillage systems

Larson, J.A., Roberts, R.K., Cochran, R.L., and Tyler, D.D.

Corresponding author: James A. Larson, University of Tennessee, Phone: (865) 974-7231, Email:

Research has shown that no tillage combined with winter cover crops can improve soil quality in cotton production. However, no tillage in combination with surface applied nitrogen can result in the top layer of the soil becoming more acidic due to nitrification. As a result, low pH levels in the soil may affect the productivity of nitrogen fertilizers in no-tillage systems. Thus, the relationship between nitrogen fertilizer and soil acidity is particularly important in the no tillage production system. Farmers interested in incorporating winter cover crops and no tillage into their production system need information about profit maximizing lime and nitrogen fertilization rates. Data from a seven-year study in West Tennessee were used to evaluate the impact of nitrogen fertilization, lime, tillage method, and winter cover crop on cotton net revenues. The important findings from this analysis are as follows. First, a substantial reduction in the nitrogen fertilization rate for cotton is possible with legume winter covers. Second, the vetch winter cover combined with no tillage provided the largest net revenues among the winter cover crop and tillage systems. Third, reducing the amount of lime applied to one-half the Extension Service recommended rate resulted in vetch winter cover net revenues that were not significantly different from the net revenues for the full rate of lime. Farmers may be able to improve cotton profitability through reduced lime and nitrogen fertilizer inputs with no tillage cotton following a vetch winter cover.

Willingness of Muskingum River watershed landowners/operators to participate in federal conservation programs

Napier, T.L., and Hitchcock, C.

Corresponding author: Ted L. Napier, Ohio State University, Phone: (614) 846-6338, Email:

Data were collected from adult residents of 1,190 households within the Muskingum River watershed in eastern Ohio during 2003 using a drop-off-pick-up-later data collection technique. Approximately 76 percent of all watershed residents who were asked to participate in the study completed a structured questionnaire sufficiently. Of those completing the questionnaire, a total of 238 indicated that they owned land that was being used for agricultural purposes within the watershed. Study participants who owned farm land were asked to complete a section of the questionnaire focused exclusively on participating in federal conservation programs. A farm structure/diffusion theoretical model had been developed to predict willingness to participate in federal conservation programs. This theoretical perspective was used to identify variables for inclusion in the questionnaire. Of the 238 farm land owners, a total of 127 (53.4 percent) indicated they would be willing to participate in the federal conservation programs outlined in the questionnaire. To determine factors that differentiate the two groups (willing and unwilling), discriminate analysis was employed to assess the merits of the theoretical model. The findings revealed that the factors included in the modeling were useful for predicting whether or not a respondent would be willing to participate in federal conservation programs. The model revealed that approximately 71 percent could be correctly classified using the variables included in the statistical modeling. Regression analysis predicted the dollar value respondents indicated would be required for them to participate in the federal conservation programs noted on the questionnaire.

Tradeoffs among environmental benefits provided by riparian buffers and agricultural production--Implication for the Big Creek watershed

Workman, S. and Suarez, C.

Corresponding author: Sethuram Soman, Environmental Resources and Policy Program, SIUC, Phone: (618) 453-2421, Email:

A challenge facing agriculture for the foreseeable future is resolving the conflicts caused by a growing competition for the services of the soil, water, and other natural resources on which agriculture depends. Various researchers have shown the efficiency of riparian buffers in providing ecosystem services, e.g., enhanced water quality, reduced sedimentation and enhanced wildlife habitat. Their ability to provide these services is recognized by federal programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program. However, none of the previous studies have valued the ecosystem services provided by riparian buffers.

In this paper the various ecosystem services provided by riparian buffers will be indexed based on an EBI similar to the one used by the USDA for evaluating land for enrollment in the CRP. The multifunctionality of agricultural production shows that producing commodity outputs and non-commodity outputs such as ecosystem services from riparian buffers involves tradeoffs. While such problems fall conceptually into the domain of multiple objectives evaluation, the associated analytical techniques often search for a single optimal solution. But in this problem, optimality means different things to different stakeholders and thus a single optimal solution may not exist.

We use a Production Possibilities Frontier (PPF) to illustrate the trade-offs among ecosystem services provided by agriculture riparian buffers and gross margin from agricultural production given limited resources and available technology. A multi-objective optimization technique based on evolutionary algorithms is used to generate the PPF. Two objectives are considered here one is maximize farm gross margin and two maximize the ecosystem services provided by riparian buffers.

Soil Quality

Is drip irrigation a sustainable practice in the salt affected soil of the San Joaquin Valley of California?

Hanson, B.R., and May, D.M.

Corresponding author: Blaine R. Hanson, Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California, Phone: (530) 752-4639, Email:

Many areas along the west side of the San Joaquin Valley of California are affected by saline soil due to shallow, saline ground water conditions. Artificial subsurface drainage is not an option for addressing these salinity problems because no feasible drainage water disposal facilities exist. Thus, improved irrigation practices such as drip irrigation must be used to cope with the salinity.

The response of processing tomato to subsurface drip irrigation under shallow, saline ground water conditions (0.6 to 2 m deep) was evaluated in four commercial fields. Shallow ground water salinity ranged from 7 to 16 dS/m. At three fields, drip irrigation was compared with sprinkler irrigation. At all four sites, the effect of different water applications on tomato yield was investigated using a randomized block experiment design. Crop yield and quality, soil salinity, soil water content, water table depth, irrigation and ground water salinity, canopy coverage, and crop evapotranspiration were measured.

Subsurface drip irrigation of processing tomato was highly profitable under these conditions. Tomato yield decreased with decreasing water applications. No trend in tomato yield was found with soil salinity levels. A water balance showed little or no field-wide leaching, but soil salinity data clearly showed localized leaching around the drip lines. Thus, drip irrigation may be a sustainable practice provided seasonal water applications are about equal to seasonal crop evapotranspiration, leaching of salts above the buried drip line occurs, irrigation water salinity does not exceed about 1.0 dS/m, and drip systems are properly maintained.

Connecting the dots to make continuous no-till work

Towery, D.L.

Corresponding author: Dan L Towery, Ag Consultant, Phone: (765) 490-0197, Email:

No-till corn has resulted in inconsistent yields for some Midwest growers. As a result no-till corn acres in the Midwest have been steadily declining from a high of over 18% in 1994 to 14% in 2004. This compares to an adoption rate for no-till soybeans of 39% in 2004. Corn is sensitive to a cool, wet planting environment and a picket fence stand is needed to realize top yields. In addition, any stress on the corn plant at the V6 stage can result in reduced yield potential. Successful no-till corn growers pay attention to several "critical details" in their management, including the following: spreading residue evenly, field preparation, diverse crop rotation, proper planter set-up, starter fertilizer, managing C: N ratio, Ca & Mg base saturation levels, proper planter speed, controlling winter annuals in the fall, hybrid selection, and pest control. Options to improve the no-till seedbed include: conventional no-till, strip-till, vertical tillage and use of a fluffing harrow. Different soil types require different management techniques. Growers who till prior to planting corn every other year are not realizing the soil quality improvements possible with continuous no-till. The changes in soil biology, organic matter content and macropore development typically take 3-5 years of continuous no-till. After this time, water runoff will be greatly reduced and may even be eliminated in some years (at least in some soils). Growers who can make continuous no-till work for them will have the potential for increased profits and an improved soil resource for future years.

Targeting Conservation Efforts

A potential-based approach to target landscapes for restoration and management

Pellant, M., and Major, D.

Corresponding author: Mike Pellant, Bureau of Land Management, 2The Nature Conservancy, Phone: 208-373-3823, Email:

The Bureau of Land Management faces many challenges in overseeing nearly 200 million acres of public land in the West. One of the more difficult problems is effectively targeting degraded lands for restoration and properly functioning lands for maintenance given shrinking fiscal and human resources. As part of a National Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring Strategy, the BLM has selected the Owyhee Uplands in the three corners area of Idaho, Oregon and Nevada for a pilot study employing GIS and remote sensing information to document conditions, threats, and interventions on nearly 10 million acres of relatively intact sagebrush steppe rangelands. A strategy to target priority areas for western juniper, noxious weeds and cheatgrass restoration is based on soil surveys and associated ecological site descriptions to describe potential. Landsat and high resolution digital imagery are superimposed on an ecological site layer to compare potential with current vegetation. This approach allows the manager to make restoration decisions relative to the degree of departure from the potential based on soils. If reseeding is required, the seed mix can be developed from the species listed in the ecological site description. The manager also has the ability to distinguish between "old growth" western juniper stands and juniper encroachment areas proposed for treatment to maintain the integrity of historic juniper sites. Tools such as those described here are essential to properly target areas for restoration given the landscape scale of many management issues, especially sage-grouse and the ever shrinking resources available to accomplish these tasks.

Targeting livestock grazing to meet conservation objectives

Bailey, D.W., Van Wagoner, H., and Jensen, D.

Corresponding author: Derek W. Bailey, Animal and Range Sciences, New Mexico State University, Phone: (505) 646-2554, Email:

In the past, rangeland managers have used rotational grazing systems to alleviate problems associated with concentrated livestock use and to prevent animals from repeatedly grazing the same locations. Such approaches rely on capital expenditures such as fencing and water developments to solve grazing distribution concerns. In contrast, recent research suggests that low-stress herding and strategic supplement placement may not only resolve grazing distribution issues associated with livestock use of riparian areas, but may provide a method to target livestock grazing in specific areas as a vegetative treatment without fence construction. Global positioning system (GPS) tracking collars were used to document the changes in livestock movement patterns that can result from these practices. For example, cow-calf pairs herded to supplement to an upland area located 1.5 km from a stream spent 32% of their time within 110 ha upland area, as compared to 1% when they were allowed to roam freely. Overall, herding resulted in less grazing use in riparian areas and placement of supplement helped increase grazing in upland target areas near supplement. As another example, a nearby rancher successfully implemented herding and strategic supplement placement and was then allowed to graze his Forest Service allotment several weeks longer than previously permitted. By manipulating grazing behavior through low-stress herding, strategic supplement placement and other practices, rangeland managers can potentially graze rugged terrain or areas far from water that are typically avoided to remove decadent vegetation, establish fire breaks, or improve big game habitat without capital expenditures.

Middle Mississippi River partnership coordination plan

Black, S., and Reiman, J

Corresponding author: Stephen Black, Southwestern Illinois RC & D, Inc., Phone: (618) 566-4451, Email:

The Middle Mississippi River (MMR) Partnership Coordination Plan was developed by sixteen federal/state agencies and Non-Governmental organizations to address the natural resources in the floodplain from St. Louis, MO to the confluence with the Ohio River. The partnership included:

American Land Conservancy

Ducks Unlimited, Inc.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Illinois Forestry Development Council

Illinois Society of American Foresters

Missouri Department of Conservation

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

The Conservation Fund

The Nature Conservancy

Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes Venture

US Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District

USDI Fish and Wildlife Service

USDI Geological Survey

USDA Forest Service

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Wildlife Forever

Vision: A network of diverse and sustainable natural resources on public and private lands in the Middle Mississippi River corridor that adequately supports wildlife habitat and provides conservation's benefits consistent with a variety of other uses.

The purpose of this plan was to coordinate and target the efforts and programs of the partners to address identified resource concerns. The GIS system was utilized to help identify priority areas where the partner's programs and actions could be utilized to conserve natural resources.

The GIS layers included fourteen different scenarios to target program effort for maximum benefits to the landowners and citizens in the region.

The following resource concerns were identified: Forests, Wetlands, Wildlife Habitat, Agricultural Production, Aquatic Habitat, Recreation, Floodplain Management, Water Quality, Non-Native Invasive Species, Information/Outreach, and Economic Impact. Outcome statements were developed for each resource concern along with goals and strategies to help the partnership coordinate program efforts and activities.

The partnership will now identify projects, coordinate efforts, and pursue funding for implementation.

Use of biological and chemical monitoring to inform management practice siting

Brown, H.J., and Popovicova, J.

Corresponding author: Hugh J Brown, Ball State University, Phone: (765) 285 5788, Email:

Ball State University's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management teamed with the Muncie Sanitary District's Bureau of Water Quality to monitor biological, chemical, and physical parameters in three 14 digit Hydrologic Unit Code subwatersheds in Delaware County, Indiana. This work was part of a 319 Grant project being conducted for the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District. The objective was to relate land use and riparian corridor characteristics to response variables (fish and macroinvertebrate population, nutrient levels, dissolved oxygen, biological oxygen demand, E. coli levels, etc.). The analysis of hydrologically sensitive areas was performed using spatial information such as land use, vegetation, topography, soil map units, impervious surface area, etc. to determine factors that affect response variables. The frequency of exceedance of standards or guidelines for chemical parameters will be reported. The study demonstrated that Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index and Index of Biological Integrity depended on land use in the 5 m buffer strip more so than for overall land use. The results of this study are being used to design a Phase II study that will involve siting of best management practices to improve stream water quality and biological communities.

Targeting erosion control using remote sensing

Gelder, B.K., Cruse, R.M., and Kaleita, A.L.

Corresponding author: Brian K. Gelder, Iowa State University, Phone: (515) 294-4264, Email:

Targeting conservation practices is an area of increasing interest as conservation budgets tighten and progress on some environmental problems has appeared to stall. Excessive tillage is a practice that is often targeted as tillage leads to significant increases in erosion, runoff, and loss of organic matter. Remote sensing of residue cover, tillage practices, and crop rotations allows targeting of conservation programs to areas that can show the greatest environmental benefits, however such methods are still in developmental stages. We will present a methodology for determining field boundaries, crop rotations, residue cover, and tillage practices and comment to its accuracy and applicability over other areas. This information will be incorporated into the Iowa Daily Erosion Project, a near-real time erosion simulation for the state of Iowa, to show how areas with the highest probabilities of water erosion and runoff can be targeted.

Targeting improved within-field water and soil quality using precision conservation

Kitchen, N.R., Sudduth, K.A., Kremer, R.J., Sadler, E.J., Lerch, R.N., and Myers, D.B.

Corresponding author: Newell R. Kitchen, USDA-ARS Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research Unit, Phone: (573) 882-1135, Email:

For over a decade (1991-2003), precision agriculture methods were used to intensively monitor crop, soil, and water quality information on a typical claypan-soil field in Missouri. Many field properties were found to vary greatly within this somewhat flat, uniform-looking field, including grain yield, soil fertility, topsoil depth, ground water nitrates, and soil herbicide persistence. We used maps of these properties to develop a crop management plan for the future that addresses site-specific problems. For example, we found that growing corn in field areas where topsoil depth was shallow was not only unprofitable, but these same areas likely contributed the most to runoff herbicide contamination. In 2004, we implemented the Precision Agriculture System (PAS) with multiple objectives addressing both production/profitability and water and soil quality. Within the plan, precision information was used to determine what production and conservation measures were needed, and where they should be placed. For example, in PAS shallow topsoil areas of the field will no longer be planted with corn nor will soil-applied herbicides be used there. Instead, these areas will be planted with wheat and a cover crop of clover, usually without herbicides. The goal of PAS is to manage sub-field areas based on information from multiple, intensive datasets, improving profitability and protecting soil and water resources. This presentation will describe PAS conservation measures and explore ways in which the information gained from this investigation can be extended to other similar crop-production fields.

Effectiveness of agricultural best management practices on the ecological integrity of a Mackinaw River subwatershed in McLean county Illinois

Lemke, A.M., Lindenbaum, T.T., Bohnhoff, K.L., Perry, W.L.,

Corresponding author: Kent L. Bohnhoff, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Phone: (309) 452-0830 ext 3, Email:

The 301,000-ha watershed of the Mackinaw River is a major contributor of sediments and nutrients to the Illinois River. Because row crop agriculture comprises over 90% of the land use in the Mackinaw River watershed we focused on addressing the effectiveness of agricultural best management practices (BMP) at improving ecological integrity of a small watershed. Although positive impacts of specific BMPs have been documented for a given farm or field, there is little evidence of the effectiveness of BMPs at the watershed scale and consequently their effectiveness has been questioned. We present an ongoing 6-y paired watershed study designed to demonstrate the (1) effectiveness of focused outreach on BMP implementation and (2) cumulative effects of BMPs on hydrology, water quality, and biological resources of a 4000-ha subwatershed of the Mackinaw River. During the first five years, participation in cost share programs and the number and types of BMPs implemented were tracked in an experimental and controlled watershed in conjunction with monitoring of instream hydrology, water quality and biological resources. Increased BMP implementation in the experimental watershed significantly reduced baseflow nitrate and suspended sediment concentrations compared to the control watershed; however, nitrate concentrations in the experimental watershed still exceeded 10 mg/L almost five months per year over the study period. This study shows that surface BMPs alone will not improve the overall biological health of local watersheds and sediment loads at a watershed scale will require intercepting and retaining tile drainage.

Locating hydrologically active areas: Just google it!

Lyon, S.W., Lembo, A.J., Walter, M.T., and Steenhuis, T.S.

Corresponding author: Steve W. Lyon, 1Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Phone: (607) 255-2463, Email:

Planners conceptualize critical management zones by overlapping hydrologically active areas or HAAs (i.e., places where runoff water comes from) and contaminant loading areas (i.e., places where contaminants come from). Displaying these HAA's in the landscape is still in its infancy owing to the fact that internet-based tools developed using geographical information systems (GIS) are not very user friendly. To be useful, these tools need to convey complex spatial data to end-users who have little or no training in GIS or Earth science. To this end, we have developed an internet-based tool to locate HAAs that is coupled with the increasingly popular "Google Earth" software package. This takes advantage of the large user-community that has shaped the Google Earth interface to make it very user-friendly. Users can then navigate through maps to identify areas of interest using standard zoom and pan functions (even explore 3D oblique angles) or search for specific coordinates. Managers can achieve more efficiency from BMPs by correctly determining where HAAs are located relative to application of pollutants. To demonstrate this, we consider total phosphorus (TP) loading for a watershed in New York State. As more agricultural land is included in BMPs, higher efficiency (greater reduction from less area being managed) is achieved when the HAAs are targeted with this easy-to-use, internet-based tool.

Geomorphic assessment to prioritize watershed restoration

McKay, T.F.

Corresponding author: Timothy F. McKay, USDA NRCS, Phone: (802) 748-3885 ext 109, Email:

State of Vermont protocols for fluvial geomorphic assessment are being used by the Vermont Conservation Districts to prepare for watershed restoration. Vermont protocols define a 3 phase process, entered into a statewide, internet database maintained by the VT Agency of Natural Resources.

Phase 1 assessment involves remote sensing and windshield survey. Old topos and aerial photos yield clues to changes. The stream is divided into reaches by defining break points controlling the morphology of the stream corridor. Phase 2 involves gathering field data on the channel, pattern, and corridor.

On the East Branch the District has utilized the VT protocols to define the corridor through a valley of agricultural land under threat of development. Using the assessment, a partnership of the local Land Trust, the VT Agency of Natural Resources, and the District is working with a series of landowners to purchase corridor easements to avoid future conflicts between the movement of the river and development which would otherwise occur in the corridor.

On the Stevens River, the District is using the assessment to launch a watershed restoration project aimed at solving resource concerns on town roads and agricultural land.

The Essex County Conservation District is completing Phase 1 and 2 assessments on 4 tributaries of the Connecticut River in a town hard hit by flood damage. Results will help the town prioritize infrastructure improvements.

Taking conservation to a higher level--Experiences from the blue earth basin in Minnesota/Iowa

Meschke, L.

Corresponding author: Linda Meschke, Rural Advantage, Phone: (507) 238-5449, Email:

Since 1993, the Blue Earth River Basin Initiative [BERBI] has implemented over $7,000,000 in conservation related best management practices [BMP's]. Over these twelve years we estimate the reduction of non point source pollution loading to be 9% from the Blue Earth River system to the Minnesota River system. Pollution reductions are in nutrient [nitrogen and phosphorous], sediment and pathogens. Practices utilized are traditional BMP's such as terraces, waterways, ag waste systems, nutrient management, vegetative buffers, water control structures, tillage practices, etc.

Local, state and national [TMDL, Hypoxia] water quality goals require a reduction in pollution loading of approximately 40% for these river systems. Continuing to use traditional conservation methods, mindset and best management practices, it will take 30-40 years to reach our water quality goals. We do not have 30-40 years. Federal and state TMDL and Hypoxia goals require us to reach these goals in ten to fifteen years.

In the Blue Earth Basin, this has led us to take our conservation efforts to a higher level resulting in more effective conservation. Methods have included targeting, 'systems' approaches and mindset change in the delivery of conservation. As these methods get applied we should expect results that meet our water quality goals in a more practicable timeline.

Targeting and application of conservation buffers in New York State

Ray. P.A., Drelich, J., Horvath, T., and Green, V.

Corresponding author: Paul A Ray, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Phone: (315) 477-6532, Email:

The science of incorporating buffers into appropriate landscape settings is essential to their proper function and efficacy. Watershed characteristics, management goals, landowner capabilities, and incentives all play key roles in ensuring the success of any buffer program. This paper summarizes some of the more significant lessons learned from the buffer initiative in the New York City Watershed as well as across targeted watersheds eligible under the New York State Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. The paper will focus on targeting, watershed placement, and methods used to increase the success of the establishment of conservation buffers.

The role of farmer to farmer networks in the promotion and adoption of managed rotational pasture systems in central New York State

Ray, P.A.

Corresponding author: Paul A Ray, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Phone: (315) 477-6532, Email:

The past 70 years of soil and water conservation efforts have relied on voluntary cost-share policy levers to encourage farmers to incorporate conservation into their day-to-day management of farms. Anecdotal evidence of farmer-to-farmer information groups provides insight into the role of these groups as communication and post implementation support networks. The evidence suggest that the formation of such groups adds another tool to facilitate the implementation of rotational pasture systems on livestock in central New York State.

Extending the reach of grassed waterways: Perennial strips over tile lines reduce nitrate loss

Russelle, M.P., Busman, L.M., and Niebur, J.L.

Corresponding author: Michael P. Russelle, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Phone: (612) 625-8145, Email:

Nitrate losses from subsurface drain tiles have been implicated in promoting hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Targeted management strategies may help achieve significant reductions in nitrate loss with minimum cost. Our hypothesis was that this goal could be achieved by growing narrow strips of deeply rooted perennial forages directly over tile lines. We tested this hypothesis in a field experiment on a Clarion-Nicollet-Webster soil association near Waseca, Minnesota. Plots (23 m wide by 30 m long) of grass or alfalfa were established with central tile drains after installing diversion tiles through a set of established patterned, 13-cm diam. plastic tiles. These original tiles served as the undisturbed drainage system and varied from 1.0 to 2.1 m deep. Calibrated tipping buckets measured water flow and grab samples of water were collected 2 or 3 times per week for nitrate. Established strips of alfalfa or grass did not alter annual tile water flow, but may have increased 'flashiness.' Smaller nitrate-N concentrations in tile water were most apparent after the strips were well established and in plots with shallower tiles. Flow-weighted annual nitrate-N concentrations were higher for corn and soybean (15 mg N/L) than for the strips (4 mg N/L) during 2004 and 2005. In contrast to nitrate concentration, perennial strips reduced annual loss of nitrate-N more with deeper tiles. The land required to achieve specific reductions in nitrate loss varies with tile arrangement and spacing, but this targeted conservation practice appears to be practical, effective, and relatively low cost.

Implementation of a statewide training program to certify erosion prevention and sediment control inspectors

Sawyer, C.B., Hayes, J.C., Fersner, J., and Hitchcock, D.

Corresponding author: John C. Hayes, Clemson University, Phone: (864) 656-4042, Email:

Construction and land disturbing activities have potential to adversely impact water quality. In 2004, Clemson University initiated development and implementation of a program designed to educate field personnel on proper installation, maintenance, and inspection of erosion prevention and sediment control measures. In anticipation of the revised South Carolina NPDES Construction General Permit, the courses prepare field personnel for certification exams administered by Clemson personnel and collaborators. The one-day Certified Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control Inspector (CEPSCI) workshops teach attendees the latest techniques and practices for erosion prevention and sediment control including the most environmentally effective techniques for different terrain. Instructors demonstrate how to review grading and drainage plans, as well as BMP details. Each participant is provided an opportunity to meet others involved in land disturbing activities and taught how to conduct a field inspection of erosion prevention and sediment control practices, as well as how to review plans. Over 2000 people have participated in classes and over 1500 completed the certification examination, including inspectors with S.C. DHEC. Statistical analysis of results revealed a pass rate of 80% during the training and certification period. The Certified Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control Inspector Program was developed through cooperative efforts of between Clemson University Cooperative Extension Services, S.C. Department of Transportation, Greenville County Soil and Water Conservation District, S.C. Department of Health, and Environmental Control, S.C. DHEC--Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, Transportation Technology Transfer Service, S.C. Sea Grant Extension Program, and Woolpert, Inc.

Comparison of water and nutrient yields from two coastal plain watersheds: Implications for management

Spruill, T.B., and Harden, S.L.

Corresponding author: Timothy B. Spruill, US Geological Survey, Phone: (919) 571-4088, Email:

In a recent study that included two streams draining the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, it was evident that hydrologic characteristics and nutrient exports from each watershed were quite different, even though drainage area (51 vs. 58 square miles), agricultural land use (50 vs. 60 percent planted crops), and physiographic setting (Middle Coastal Plain) appear very similar. In 2000 and 2001, average yield of water, nitrogen, and phosphorus in Middle Swamp, one of the streams, was 0.50 cubic feet/second/square mile (ft3/s/mi2), 0.54 tons per square mile (t/mi2), and 0.10 t/mi2. For the same years, Bear Creek, the other stream, average yield of water, nitrogen, and phosphorus was .93 ft3/s/mi2, 3 t/mi2, and 0.16 t/mi2. Various factors, including land use, soil, aquifer, and vegetation properties, were evaluated to help explain the observed differences in water and nutrient yields from these two watersheds. Although, cropland was about 20 percent higher in Bear Creek, the swine population was only about 30 percent of the swine population in the Middle Swamp watershed (40,000 vs. 105,000 swine). Nitrogen yields, surprisingly, were much lower in Middle Swamp, even though animal populations were higher and cropland was only slightly lower.

Nitrogen from agricultural nonpoint sources is often targeted to control or reduce eutrophication in estuarine receiving waters. The very different nutrient yields from these two apparently similar watersheds suggest that different processes may be taking place in each watershed that could justify application of different land management practices to control water quality.

Cost-effective targeting of riparian buffers to achieve water quality and wildlife habitat benefits

Yang, W., Liu, W., Corry, R.C., and Kreutzwiser, R.D.

Corresponding author: Wanhong Yang, Department of Geography, University of Guelph, Phone: (519) 824-4120 ext 53090, Email:

This study develops an integrated economic, hydrologic, and ecological modeling framework to examine cost-effective targeting of riparian buffers to achieve water quality and wildlife habitat benefits. The framework is empirically applied to the Canagagigue Creek watershed in Ontario, Canada to compare the economic costs for establishing riparian buffers under three alternative environmental and ecological constraints: sediment abatement only, habitat improvement only, and riparian buffer acreage only. The results show that riparian buffers targeted for achieving sediment abatement goal are not effective in improving habitat quality. Similarly, riparian buffers identified through habitat improvement goal achieve less sediment abatement as compared to those targeted in the sediment abatement scenario. The tradeoffs suggest that agricultural stewardship programs with joint water quality and habitat improvement goals may need to allocate funds independently for targeting two pools of riparian buffers: for improving water quality only or for improving habitat improvement only.

An Integrated Framework for Targeting Best Management Practices in an Agricultural Watershed

Qiu, Z.

Corresponding author: Zeyuan Qiu, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Phone: (973) 596-5357, Email: Playa Lakes Joint Venture (PLJV)

Scientists and government agencies have developed a large menu of conservation practices for achieving various soil and water conservation goals. A targeting approach for soil and water conservation practices should answer two integral questions. What conservation practices should be used (WHAT)? And where should they be applied (WHERE)? A targeting policy with both components (WHAT and WHERE) could be cost-effective, but is often too stringent or rigid to be applied in soil and water conservation and watershed management practices. This paper presents an integrated framework of targeting that specifically focuses on the WHAT component. The framework includes a geographic information system, an enterprise budget generator, a biophysical model and a multi-criteria decision model. By integrating a multi-criteria decision making survey with the modeling results, the framework can effectively narrow targets for financial and technical assistance from a large amounts of choices of farming practices to several key farming systems and best management practices that help to achieve the environmental goals of watershed management. Resource managers may choose to develop watershed management programs that encourage adoption of those selected farming systems and practices. Such targeting policy may be a little less cost-effective as the traditional targeting policy with both WHAT and WHERE components, but is flexible and easy to be implemented. The framework is empirically applied to a Midwest agricultural watershed to demonstrate its usefulness.

Targeting Conservation of High Plains Playa Lakes.

Carter, M.F.

Corresponding author: Michael F. Carter, Playa Lakes Joint Venture, Phone: (303)-926-0777, Email: Playa Lakes Joint Venture (PLJV)

Playa Lakes Joint Venture (PLJV) works to conserve playa wetlands for the benefit of wildlife and aquifer recharge. Playas are wetlands that are found nearly exclusively in the southern High Plains of North America. They are generally round, internally drained, and clay-lined depressions that function to recharge the Ogallala Aquifer. Current estimates put playa numbers above 60,000 with the majority (30,000) concentrated in the Texas Panhandle and the rest scattered among eastern Colorado, New-Mexico and Wyoming and western Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. Because of their location, playas support migration of waterfowl, shorebirds, and landbirds through the Central Flyway. Resident bird species such as Ring-necked Pheasant also benefit from playas. Beyond birds, playas are centers of biodiversity in the plains, supporting vegetation, invertebrate, amphibian, and mammalian communities not found in the surrounding grasslands and agricultural lands. Recent research indicates that playas have much more benefit to recharge of the Ogallala Aquifer than previously thought. Central to our conservation activities are finding, mapping, and promoting conservation of at-risk playas. Principle threats include historic practices such as pitting as well as on-going threats of sedimentation from agricultural lands. I will discuss: benefits of playas, case studies of how PLJV targets playas via GIS, promotes conservation activities, and Farm Bill programs designed specifically for playa conservation.

Urban Conservation

Evaluation of stormwater management impacts from the volumetric abstraction of runoff from frequent storms

Cerrelli G. A.

Corresponding author: Geoffrey A. Cerrelli, P.E., USDA/NRCS, Phone: (717) 237-2214, Email:

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently proposed new design guidelines for storm water management control to target the abstraction of runoff on-site from frequent storms. These controls target the capture and on-site use of frequent storm runoff through processes such as bio-retention storage. The resulting impacts to the post-development runoff volume, peak rate, and hydrograph for typical design storms are not known. These design storms include frequencies of the 1-year to 100-year as well as typical actual storms.

Land development can significantly alter the runoff potential of the post-developed pervious areas through soil compaction and/or removal of vegetation. An adjustment to the traditional NRCS Runoff Curve Numbers used for these land cover altered conditions can be made to address these issues and make designs less complicated to produce and review.

Questions arise regarding the impacts when the designed abstraction storage volume is compromised. Compromised storage can result from back to back storms; rain-on-snow; rain-on-frozen ground; rain during the non-growing season (when evapotranspiration is minimized), etc. and produce significant increases in runoff volume and peak rate from the development site.

Interest in these topics is widespread since many States throughout the country are promoting similar on-site volumetric storm water management controls. The USDA NRCS runoff evaluation methods and Win TR20 hydrologic computer program are used to examine these issues.

Water Conservation

Oregon coastal community water supply assessment

Achtman, G.L., Davis-Born, R.E., Rolston, I., and Gaines, L.J.

Corresponding author: Gail L. Achterman, Oregon State University, Institute for Natural Resources, Phone: (541) 737-9918, Email:

Water-related problems affect virtually every community in the United States. The future water crisis is not likely to be one catastrophic event; rather it will emerge from a multitude of local and regional water problems. On the Oregon coast, the issue of water supply has become paramount, especially given the need to restore in-stream flows in order to restore coastal salmon runs and meet water quality standards. With the ebb and flow of population and the economic growth of Oregon coastal communities, three hypotheses have been generated about the ability of these communities to meet future water supply needs. The purpose of this project was to better understand the challenges and opportunities facing coastal community water suppliers as a whole and to ultimately improve the prospects for meeting future water needs. Findings show that contrary to the first hypothesis, most of those interviewed do not think that economic development is constrained by waters supply. However, it does appear that it would be difficult for state economic development officials to match businesses and industries interested in relocating to the Oregon coast with community water supply availability and reliability.

Findings also show that the major problem facing community water suppliers in preparing water management and conservation plans is financial. Though Oregon's coastal communities face several planning, management, physical, economic, and regulatory challenges in preparing for future water supply needs, numerous partnership, conservation, research, and training opportunities exist. What is needed is an opportunity for a facilitated process of restructuring water supply systems.

Negotiating surface and groundwater use: The governor's water policy task force, state of Nebraska

Bartsch, J., Bleed, A.S., and Moore, C.

Corresponding author: Jonathon Bartsch, CDR Associates, Phone: (303) 442-7367, Email:

Since the 1990's, the Stare of Nebraska has experienced increased tensions and conflict over the management of surface and groundwater. In particular, surface water appropriators claimed the unregulated pumping of ground water was affecting their entitlement. In 2002, the Nebraska State Legislature passed an act that created the Governor's Water Policy Task Force, a 49-person committee charged with reviewing current state water laws and practices to determine their effectiveness in conjunctively managing surface and groundwater, and making recommendations for how joint management could be improved and emerging conflicts resolved. This paper details the work of the committee--composed of surface and groundwater users, municipalities, power producers, environmentalists, recreational interests, the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, and the Attorney General's Office. It describes the approach, strategies, and procedures used to develop a statewide consensus on how to manage these difficult, technically complex, and contentious water issues. In December of 2003, the Task Force reported to the Governor and the Legislature on its broadly supported consensus-based recommendations. These recommendations were endorsed and, with only very minor revisions, enacted into law in the spring of 2004. Money was also appropriated to implement the law.

Deficit irrigation of alfalfa as a strategy for saving water for nonagricultural uses

Hanson, B.R., Putuam, D.H., and Snyder, R.L.

Corresponding author: Blaine R. Hanson, Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California, Phone: (530) 752-4639, Email:

Alfalfa is California's single largest agricultural water user due to its large acreage and long growing season, using 494,000 to 679,000 ha-m (4 to 5.5 million-acre feet) of water each year. The California Department of Water Resources is interested in deficit irrigation of alfalfa as a strategy for providing water for transfer elsewhere. Irrigation would be terminated during July and August when yields are relatively small and the "saved" water used elsewhere. The amount of transferable water is the difference in the evapotranspiration (ET) between fully-irrigated and a deficit-irrigated conditions; however, no information exists on this difference.

Evapotranspiration of alfalfa was determined in both fully-irrigated and deficit-irrigated checks of a commercial field using the eddy covariance and surface renewal energy balance methods. In addition, alfalfa yield, applied water, canopy coverage and plant height measurements were made in both parts of the field.

Cumulative ET as of November 12, 2005 was 1,171 mm (46.1 inches) for the fully-irrigated part. Deficit irrigation (no irrigation) started on July 25. Cumulative ETc between July 25 and November 12 was 904 mm (35.6 inches) for the fully irrigated treatment and was 632 mm (24.9 inches) for the deficit irrigated treatment for a difference of 272 mm (10.7 inches). Yields of the deficit-irrigated checks were 45% and 56% of the fully-irrigated checks in 2004 and 2005, respectively.

Topdressing Kentucky bluegrass with composted manure increases soil water content and improves turf quality during drought

Johnson, G., Qian, Y., and Davis, J.

Corresponding author: Yaling Qian, Colorado State University, Phone: (970) 491-7079, Email:

Management practices that reduce landscape water consumption will become more important as potable water supplies diminish. Currently, up to 75% of urban water in arid climates is used for landscaping purposes. Little information is available concerning the effects of compost topdressing on turf-grass drought response. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of topdressing Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) with composted manure on soil water content (SWC), turfgrass canopy temperature, and turf quality during periods of drought. In May and September 2003 and May 2004 compost treatments (0, 33, 66, and 99 m3ha-1) were topdressed onto established 'Nuglade' and 'Livingston' Kentucky bluegrass in the field. The field was core- cultivated just prior to compost topdressing. Three 10-d dry down periods were imposed during the summers.

During the dry down periods, compost treatment increased SWC in the 15-30 cm soil depth on 1-3 d of dry down and in the 0-15 cm depth on 7-10 d of dry down. Compared to the control, compost treatments at 66 and 99 m3ha-1 reduced turf canopy temperature by 1.2-3.3?C toward the end of dry down periods, indicating less drought stress. While turf quality in the control of Nuglade and Livingston declined to an unacceptable level on the 8 d of dry down, plots with 66 and 99 m3ha-1 compost treatments maintained acceptable turf quality during the entire dry down periods. Our results suggested that compost topdressing after core cultivation is a management practice that could reduce turfgrass irrigation requirements.

Re-vegetating formerly irrigated land in Colorado's lower Arkansas River valley

Miller, D., and Miller, M.

Corresponding author: David Miller, USDA-NRCS, Phone: (719) 254-7672, Email:

Irrigation water sales to municipalities are forcing major agricultural operation changes in Colorado's Lower Arkansas River Valley. Without water, crop production is simply too unreliable to attempt because of the limited and erratic patterns of rainfall.

Approximately 41 percent of the irrigated cropland in Crowley and Otero counties has been dried up due to water sales to Front Range municipalities, especially Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Aurora. This has not only impacted the natural resource base and agriculture but has also impacted the economy of these counties.

Previously irrigated farmland in the Arkansas Valley should be re-vegetated with perennial grasses that are well-adapted to the dry growing conditions. Once they become established, these grasses will be able to prosper without irrigation water. Re-vegetation efforts will greatly reduce the spread of noxious weeds and soil erosion by wind and water. Adapted grasses are selected to be palatable to livestock.

Successful establishment and growth of perennial species requires tested methods. Water sales require court action. Mandated re-vegetation is not always a requirement by the courts. The loss of some irrigation out of a gravity ditch system has had very unforeseen and unexpected impacts on other irrigators and communities.

Utilizing atmometers to manage and conserve groundwater in the Ogallalla aquifer

Schlegel, R., and Stoner, C.

Corresponding author: Rick Schlegel, P.E., USDA NRCS Oklahoma, Phone: (580) 256-3375 ext 6, Email:

Atmometers were utilized by Oklahoma irrigators, cooperating with NRCS, to conserve groundwater through proper timing and application of water to their irrigated crops. The atmometer is a simple and inexpensive device that was initially developed at Colorado State University. The atmometer serves as a mini-weather station for irrigators and measures evapotranspiration of the crop being irrigated. Oklahoma NRCS set up field trials in both 2003 and 2004 to examine the practical use of the atmometers and to compare their accuracy to the evapotranspiration readings from the highly sophisticated Mesonet weather stations in Oklahoma. The results of these two field trials are presented in this presentation. Many Oklahoma irrigators over the past two years have utilized the atmometers and have followed a formal scheduling program developed by NRCS in Oklahoma in order to conserve groundwater in the Ogallala as well as to reduce their pumping costs. Actual results from Oklahoma irrigators who utilized the atmometers will be presented.

Evaluation of subsurface drip-irrigated system performance in southeast Colorado

Wittler, J.M, Sutherland, P.L., and Casper, M.S.

Corresponding authoer: James M. Wittler, Natural Resource Conservation Service--Springfield, CO, Phone: (719) 523-6251, Email:

Baca County, located in southeast Colorado, is a semi-arid environment with a mean annual precipitation of 355-406 mm (14-16 in) and is typical of the high plains of eastern Colorado and western Kansas. Irrigation in Baca County began in 1910, when the Two Buttes reservoir was built to flood irrigate farms in the area. Since then, land has been irrigated using ground water wells and the traditional surface irrigation methods of flood, gated pipe, and sprinkler. The purpose of this evaluation was to study the adoption of subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) technology in the county. Since 2002, approximately 400 ha (1000 ac) have been converted to SDI. These acres have been used to grow corn, alfalfa, onions, and melons. In this evaluation, NRCS employees interviewed area farmers to document their experiences with adopting the SDI technology. Generally, numbers obtained from producers showed an increase in yields and a decrease in the amount of water used to grow the respective crop. This evaluation also found that local farmers were apprehensive about the installation costs of SDI and its continued upward trend. Also revealed, was a general perception that drip requires less management than traditional irrigation techniques. In conclusion, SDI has had a beneficial impact on farming in Baca County and future work needs to focus on identifying cash crops and niche markets that could better capitalize on the SDI benefits.

Towards Real-time Control and Management of Surface Irrigation In Australia

Khatri, K.L. and Smither, R.J.

Corresponding authors: Kanya L. Khatri and R.J. Smith, University of Southern Queensland, Australia, Email:,

Surface irrigation is the most commonly used method for irrigating crops and pastures in Australia and around the world due to the low cost, low energy requirements and improved aeration of the root zone. Knowledge of the soil infiltration parameters is of the utmost importance for optimum performance and management of surface irrigation. The advance of the surface flow across a field varies according to the infiltration characteristics of soil. The spatial and temporal variations commonly found in infiltration characteristics are a major physical constraint to achieving higher irrigation application efficiencies. Calculation of the infiltration characteristics from irrigation advance data is now the preferred method. Substantial work has been directed towards developing methods to measure the infiltration characteristics of soil. However, none of the existing methods for predicting the infiltration is entirely suitable for use in real time control. The greatest limitation of the available methods is that they are data intensive.

A new technique REIP (Real-time infiltration prediction) that uses a model-infiltration-curve has been developed by the authors. In this method a scaling process is used to reduce the amount of data required to predict the infiltration characteristics for each furrow and each irrigation event for a whole field. Infiltration characteristics can be estimated in real time with an accuracy equivalent to that given by currently used industry methods such as INFILT and Two-point.

Using the proposed method REIP, infiltration parameters were calculated for two different fields. The SIRMOD simulation model was then used to evaluate a simple real time control strategy that optimised irrigation performance by varying only the time to cut-off. The simulation results revealed that irrigation efficiencies for the two fields could be improved from 56% for Field_1 and 37% for Field_2 (under usual farm management) to 85% and 72% for the Field_1 & _2, respectively. This highly significant improvement in irrigation performance achieved indeed indicates the substantial benefits that can be obtained in surface irrigation by using a simple real time control system. The results further showed that a substantial savings of 40% in volume of water applied per irrigation can be achieved to grow more crop and reducing deep drainage losses thus decreasing the potential for environmental harm.

Water Conservation through the CSP: "Accomplishments in Saving Water".

Carman, D.K., Jett, C., and Derickson, D.

Corresponding authoer: Dennis K. Carman, USDA NRCS, Phone: (501)-210-8911, Email:

We are current in the third year of the Conservation Security Program. This program is having significant impacts on how we do business as an agency as well as how farmers and ranchers approach their conservation decisions. We now have the initial information to evaluate accomplishments. We also have information available that will permit us to investigate and evaluate new ways of reporting our resource condition, performance and accomplishments.

Water management is one of the top CSP priorities. We utilized an irrigation index approach to identify the" benchmark" level of conservation CSP applicants "walked in the door with" for their operation. We are using this same irrigation index approach to identify the "improved" or "incremental change" in conservation that has been achieved by these CSP applicants as they modify and improve their contracts by adding new conservation. In this presentation we will present the initial CSP irrigation water management accomplishments as well as explore key questions such as:

1) Can the CSP contract database be utilized to determine national or regional conservation "benchmark conditions" for irrigation water management?

2) Can the CSP contract database be utilized to determine conservation performance?

3) Can we measure "water saved" on a national or region level?

4) What are the incremental as well as cumulative accomplishments related to water management?

5) Does the irrigation water management index value present a reasonable means of quantifying conservation achievement and can this approach be utilized as a method for measuring other conservation performance accomplishments?.

Water Quality

Development of the Colorado composting industry and implications for improvement in soil and water conservation practices

Doesken, K.C., Davis, J.G., Elliott, A., Tardy, R., and Yose, R.

Corresponding author: Kathy C. Doesken, Colorado State University, Email:

Colorado's young compost industry is on its way to becoming big business. In part, the abundance of animal manure is the local driving force behind the present commercial composting industry. A significant number of Colorado feedlots and dairies, many of which are Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, are located near rivers where water quality is an issue. These operations are beginning to adopt composting as a best management practice for manure and mortality management. Composting is resulting in the transport of nutrients off-site and produces an additional income stream for agriculture. As the compost industry develops and compost becomes more available, compost will have an increasing influence on improving soil and water quality. However, the emerging compost industry is facing challenges with regard to regulations, marketing, consumer and producer education, and business infrastructure. These challenges need to be strategically navigated by all concerned parties for the industry to continue to grow and become well integrated. This presentation will trace the evolution of this industry in Colorado, including the brief history of its young but proactive professional organization, the Rocky Mountain Organics Council. The Rocky Mountain Compost Classification System, which is developing as a useful tool for both compost producers and consumers, and the results of research conducted at Colorado State University that shows the effect of compost on water retention and phosphorus runoff will be included as well. These developments will be related to potential improvements in soil and water conservation practices.

Plumbing agricultural landscapes for water quality improvement: Coexistence of intensive agriculture and good water quality

Downing, J.A., Cruse, R.M., and Gemesi, Z.

Corresponding author, Zsolt Gemesi, Iowa State University, Department of Ecology Evolution and Organismal Biology, Phone: (515) 294-2594, Email:

Non-point nutrient export from agricultural watersheds is one of the most important causes of the degradation of freshwater and marine waters. Eutrophication has caused the impairment of waterways in agricultural regions, the increased incidence of harmful algal blooms and coastal hypoxia. Over the past five years, Iowa State University has been collecting data on water quality measured in lakes at the bases of 132 watersheds across the state of Iowa. This analysis has regional generality because Iowa is the most productive agricultural state in the Mississippi River basin and an important supplier of nutrients to the Gulf of Mexico. Our study watersheds covered 36% of the total land area of the state of Iowa and included >97% of the state's open water surface.

The objective of the study was to identify the characteristics of watershed configuration that have the greatest influence on surface water quality across 132, large, agriculturally-dominated watersheds.

The use of geographic information systems within this project provides a means of assessing the current land use and vegetation configuration and their contribution to water quality within Iowa lakes. A land cover dataset was used to determine a variety of descriptive and functional metrics.

The project outcomes include empirical identification of watershed components and spatial configurations that are most conducive to the maintenance of water quality in Iowa, identification of watershed limitations to intensive agricultural production methods and watershed design criteria required to maintain or enhance surface water quality of Iowa lakes and other surface waters.

Utilization of soil survey to estimate the impact of soil nitrogen on water quality

Elrashidi, M., Harder, J., Mays, D., Seybold, C., and Peasslee, S.

Corresponding author: Moustafa Elrashidi, USDA/NRCS, National Soil Survey Center, Phone: (402) 437-5319, Email:

The loss of nutrients in runoff and leaching water from agricultural land is a major cause of poor water quality in the United States. The objectives were to apply NRCS technique on Wagon Train (WT) watershed in Nebraska to predict : i) loss of water by surface runoff and subsurface leaching, and ii) loss of nitrate-N from soils by runoff and leaching. The annual loss of water was estimated at 4.32 million m3 for runoff and 0.98 million m3 for leaching. The observed annual inflow for WT reservoir was 4.25 million m3. The predicted annual nitrate-N loss by runoff was about 7.0 Mg. The predicted nitrate-N loss by leaching was 7.73 Mg, however, the fate was not clear. The estimated average nitrate-N concentration in runoff and leaching water at field sites was 1.63 and 7.88 mg/L, respectively. The observed nitrate-N concentration in water samples taken from 12 major streams ranged between 0.37 and 1.56 mg/L with an average of 0.90 mg/L. Nitrogen uptake by algae, weeds, and aquatic plants and emission of gaseous nitrogen oxides from fresh water under reducing conditions might explain the lower nitrate-N concentration. When factors affecting N concentration in streams are considered, the technique could provide a reasonable estimation of N concentration in stream water. We concluded that the technique could be applied to estimate the loss of nitrate-N by runoff and leaching from soils and the impact on surface waters.

Development and evaluation of a phosphorus index for nutrient management in Michigan

Gangwer, M., Mokma, D., and Grigar, J.

Corresponding author: Mike Gangwer, USDA-NRCS Michigan, Phone: (517) 324-5167, Email:

As a nutrient source, phosphorus is essential for plant growth. For landowners, management of phosphorus includes utilization of fertilizer and manure P as crop uptake and additional soil fertility. Currently in Michigan, landowners use a soil test phosphorus (STP) method without a spatial consideration that asks the question, what are the risks (assessments) of applying P to a field based on its vulnerability for P transport into surface water and hence the potential for eutrophication? We included spatial risk assessment by developing a Phosphorus Index (PI) that mirrors many indices across the US From the onset we used two principles: the index must be simple to use and interpret, and the index must include categories that can be mitigated by the landowner. The Michigan PI includes five transport components: soil erosion (RUSLE2/WEQ), Runoff Curve Number (RCN), distance to water, subsurface drainage, and buffers; there are four source components: STP, P fertilizer method, P manure method, and P application rate. The PI (in Excel) is additive with only two results: acceptable with an integer score of 17 or less, or not acceptable at 18 or higher. If the field scores acceptable, the landowner adopts the management strategy used to calculate the PI. If not the landowner uses the current STP method or changes practices to reach an acceptable PI. The Michigan PI is another field assessment tool; its adoption helps mitigate P movement into surface water, thereby reducing the potential resource concern of eutrophication.

Effect of harvesting on forest soil and water in an organic soil watershed

Grace, J.M., and Skaggs, R.W.

Corresponding Author: J. McFero Grace, USDA Forest Service, Southern Reasearch Station, Forest Operations Research, Phone: (334) 82

Timber harvest operations are necessary and common in forest management to provide profitability and satisfy demands for timber products. Harvesting operations, as with most forest operations, have received much attention in regards to soil and water issues. Harvesting operations have been reported to affect soil physical properties and hydrological characteristics from drained forest watersheds. Increases in bulk density, forest outflow, nutrient concentrations, and suspended sediments can result from harvesting operations, particularly those in drained forest watersheds. Thus, it is important to assess the impact of harvest operations on soil and water (quantity and quality) on drained forest watersheds. This proposed presentation reports the influence of harvesting operations on a 23-ha hardwood forest located in Washington County near Plymouth, North Carolina. The study utilizes a nested design to evaluate soil property effects and a paired watershed approach to evaluate hydrology and water quality effects of harvesting. Harvesting increased bulk density and decreased saturated hydraulic conductivity based on this investigation. As a result of soil property changes and timber removal, daily outflow, peak flow, and water table depth were also significantly impacted by the harvesting operations. Mean daily outflow and peak flow increased greater than 30 percent on the harvested watershed. Water table depths observed from the harvested watershed were also greater than 30 percent (70 cm to 104 cm) closer to the surface on the harvested watershed in comparison to the control watershed.

Milwaukee metropolitan sewerage district's greenseams program for land and soil conservation

Kohring, M., McCarthy, S., and O'Leary, M.

Corresponding author: Margaret Kohring, The Conservation Fund, Phone: (269) 426-8825, Email:

Learn how The Conservation Fund (TCF) is working with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (the District) to implement an important land conservation plan to protect downstream stormwater management facilities.

The Program:

Rather than relying solely on structural means, the District follows its Greenseams plan to protect open space to prevent flooding risks and increase water quality. Greenseams uses a number of criteria, including hydric soil areas, woodland areas and lands along stream corridors, to identify privately owned sites for acquisition in a fast-growing urban region. Conserving "complexes" of these identified sites before they can be developed helps maintain the current rate and volume of runoff entering the area waterways, which helps protect the life of the District's downstream stormwater facilities. The preserved open space is then added to the area communities' park systems and open to the public for passive recreation, and the region reaps water quality and wildlife habitat benefits from the preserved land.

The Stakeholders:

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is a state chartered intergovernmental agency that serves 1.2 million people in 28 municipalities.

Applied Ecological Services (AES) is the broad-based ecological consulting, contracting, and restoration firm that provided the scientific backbone to the program.

The Conservation Fund is a national non-profit conservation organization that forges partnerships to protect America's legacy of land and water resources. TCF was retained by the District to plan and implement the Greenseams program. Using the priorities that AES identified, TCF has acquired over 775 acres of land for nearly $5.25 million.

Water quality trading assessment

Parker, D., and Abdalla, C.

Corresponding author: Doug Parker, University of Maryland, Phone: (301) 405-8042, Email:

This paper will address the creation of a framework for evaluating water quality trading programs. It will assess how varying federal and state policies in the Chesapeake Bay region affect not only the choice of outcomes measured, but their values. Most water quality trading programs employ three primary performance measures. First, does the water quality trading program improve water quality measures at a specific location at a specific time (or for a specific time period)? Second, does the water quality trading program meet a regulatory water quality standard or other regulatory program goals? Third, does the water quality trading program allow for future growth of a particular economic sector or of population in the region?

There are many secondary outcomes that must be considered when assessing the performance of water quality trading programs. These outcomes include cost effectiveness of water quality improvements, presence of water quality "hot spots", presence of third party impacts, transaction costs (including information gathering, negotiation, monitoring, and enforcement), technological innovation, innovation in management, creation of additional public goods such as wildlife and wetlands, changes in levels of related pollutants, trade enforceability and accountability, and transparency of the water quality market and its water quality impacts.

The appropriateness and measurement of these outcomes measures will be compared under varied water quality trading polices that exist within the Chesapeake Bay region. Both federal and, where appropriate, state polices will be considered. Lessons from the outcomes assessment will be useful in designing successful local water quality trading programs.

Poultry litter use and transport in two Mid-Atlantic States

Parker, D., Collins, A., Lee, Q., and Yoganand, B.

Corresponding author: Doug Parker, University of Maryland, Phone: (301) 405-8042, Email: Poultry litter transport is a commonly utilized strategy to address nutrient excesses. Evaluations will be made for the transport of and willingness to use litter as a commercial fertilizer substitute. Understanding farmer attitudes towards poultry litter is useful for designing policies and educational program to reduce nonpoint source water pollution from improper use of animal manures.

This paper will use data from a survey covering 2 states (Maryland and West Virginia) and 6 counties (primary and secondary poultry production areas). The majority of non-poultry farmers in West Virginia (66%), and the majority of non-poultry farms in Maryland's primary poultry producing region (60%) have recently used litter. While non-poultry growers in Maryland's secondary poultry producing region are less likely to have used poultry litter (34%), these figures still suggest a robust market for poultry litter. Insufficient agricultural land resources are one reason many growers transfer litter. Among broiler chicken growers, over half of the respondents did not have a land base sufficient to land apply all their litter. A minority (15%) applied all their litter on-farm even though the farmer owned or rented insufficient acreage for litter application.

Additional survey responses concerning farmer attitudes towards poultry litter and farmer willingness to pay to obtain poultry litter as a commercial fertilizer substitute will be analyzed to assess the potential for poultry litter transport and marketing to alleviate situations of excess on-farm nutrients. The survey results will be useful in creating local and regional programs that promote environmentally sound uses for animal manures.

Utilization of annual ryegrass to improve soil quality, manure management and crop production while protecting water quality in a no-till system

Pulmer, M.D., and Hoorman, J.L.

Corresponding author: Michael D Plumer, University of Illinois Extension, Phone: (618) 453-5563, Email:

Annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) is a winter annual grass that has fibrous and deep rooting characteristics. When utilized in a no-till corn and soybean rotation, it has significantly improved soil quality allowing increased and deeper crop rooting especially in problem soils like clay pan or till pan soils. These rooting characteristics have moved nutrients from the subsoil, improved water infiltration, improved soil structure, organic matter and improved crop growth and yield. Trials have compared o-till with no cover crop, annual ryegrass and cereal rye cover crops. Annual ryegrass roots penetrate significantly deeper in these soils than cereal rye roots, having been measured to depths of 50+ inches. Utilization of annual ryegrass over several years has significantly increased crop rooting, with corn roots penetrating up to 75 inches and soybean roots to 40+ inches. The annual ryegrass growing over winter has also had the effect of significantly reducing soybean cyst nematode numbers when compared to no cover crop or to cereal rye cover crops. Annual ryegrass root systems have shown to uptake nutrients and hold these nutrients over winter protecting them from loss. This characteristic is important in up taking excess nitrogen and phosphorus thus reducing losses over winter. Utilized in a manure management system, annual ryegrass has been used to uptake and immobilize nutrients over winter, stabilizing them in the soil, and thereby protecting water in watersheds while improving soil fertility and quality.

Using geographic information systems in tracking the relation between water proverty and development indices (by application on districts of Egypt)

Ramadan, R.

Corresponding author: Rania Ramadan, SAKIA NGO (Water in society and environment), Email:

As the water sector in Egypt faces great challenge to sustain enough water for increasing population, still safe drinking water represents a critical constrain for development. Internationally: Egypt is a medium human development country ranking 115 with HDI = 0.680 Nationally: 6,847,500 people have no access to safe drinking water. 90,000 Citizen and 17,000 Child die each year due to water related diseases.

Here comes the objective of this paper: To examine the impact of water poverty on the Human Development Index (HDI) in Egypt.

Case Study: According to the United Nations human development report /Egypt 2003: DarEsalam district was the poorest district in Egypt in Human Development Index = 0.529 with percentage of total households without access to piped water 70.9 % and highest percentage of population suffering from renal failure disease Domiat district ranked the richest in Human Development Index = 0.708 with percentage of total households without access to piped water 0.77 % By Using ArcGIS 8 : Rates of districts of Egypt was tracked in some indicators like, human development index, Gross Domestic Production, water accessibility rates, maternal mortality, literacy rate, unemployment rates, water related diseases: An impact of water poverty on the overall country achievement was noticed.

Conclusion: Water poverty is one of the most critical factors, affecting human health, mentally and physicaly, moreover it may cause him certain disabilities, limiting his productivity leading to delaying the country overall profile on the international level. Which needs deeper analysis to support effective decision making based on Geographic information systems analysis. And this what the paper will present.

Targeting technical water-related information for people with low literacy skills

Williamson, R.

Corresponding author: Robert Williamson, Cooperative Extension, NC A & T State University, Phone: (336) 334-7957, Email:

People see changes in their water quality as being good or bad. Rarely do people with low literacy skills grasp what actions lead to water-related problems. Quite simply, few water experts try to produce tools that bridge technical water data with people's learning skills. As a result, myths surface about why certain water problems occur, what health risks those problems cause, and what people can do to reduce the problems. Civic officials know that everyone has a responsibility to conserve water, use it wisely, and protect it. A need exists to "tailor" basic water-related facts for people (adults and youth) with low literacy skills in order for them to become more informed about risks to watersheds.

In response to these findings, a team of North Carolina extension specialists produced The Water Guardian: Chopper Ride. Our "edutainment" CD-ROM reveals 36 risks that affect watersheds. Learn to fly our virtual helicopter. Go in search of common risks spread over urban, suburban, rural, and forested land. Test your skills by answering questions linked to the risks. Hear how water quality and youth educators use the "fun learning adventure" to get the target audience to see how people and landscape features can change water quality. Leave with free copies of the software and a printed guide for people without a computer. Use the tools to help build community awareness and knowledge in order to facilitate responsible action, foster conservation and management of water supplies. Lastly, share your ideas for producing Chopper Ride 2!

Non-regulatory mechanism for sustainable land management in agriculture: Options and applicability for the Queensland sugar industry

Wulf. P.

Corresponding author: Peter Wulf, University of Queensland, Email:

Sustainable land management in agriculture has become an increasingly important issue for governments and policy decision-makers worldwide. However, in the increasingly competitive environment, what is the best approach to allow landholders to achieve the triple bottom line? Presently, a voluntary approach is used in the Queensland sugar industry for best management practices. The current approach may not in many instances achieve sustainable land management as it may be uneconomical to undertake certain management practices. Incentives and auctions therefore may be necessary to provide a public benefit without all the costs being borne privately. In a pilot study in the Douglas Shire, although there was limited up-take during the auction process, the auction was successful. It is suggested that this may be an excellent opportunity for the sugar industry to achieve sustainable land management regardless on the limited number of applicant. Although voluntary programs and incentives appear to be gaining prominence, it would appear that some form of regulatory mechanism as a backup is required so as to encourage slow adoption growers to undertake sustainable practices.

Diffuse land-based pollution and the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area: The commonwealth's responsibilities and implications for the Queensland sugar industry

Wulf, P.

Corresponding author: Peter Wulf, University of Queensland, Email:

Diffuse land-based pollution from agriculture is a major concern to governments and management authorities. These effects on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA) are substantial on inshore reefs and have degraded the reefs ecological and aesthetic qualities. The Commonwealth has international obligations pursuant to numerous Conventions to protect not only the Australian marine environment but in particular the GBRWHA. This article outlines the problems associated with diffuse land-based marine pollution and Australia's obligations to protect the delicate ecosystems. This article suggests that although the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority have responded positively with the introduction of a number of legislative and policy regimes to minimize these impacts the Commonwealth has resisted using its inherent powers pursuant to recent Federal and High Court decisions and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 (Cth) (GBRMP Act) to reduce the impacts from diffuse land-based sources on the GBRWHA. This article also suggests that individual cane growers could be targeted with injunctions pursuant to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) and matters of national significance with respect to the actions in relation to diffuse land-based pollution and its impacts on the GBRWHA. Finally the article suggests that the precautionary principle should be fully invoked with legislation enforcing minimum environmental compliance standards.

Watershed Management/Restoration

Integrated watershed management: A case study from Petra, Jordan

Al-Weshah, R

Corresponding author: Radwan Al-Weshah, UNESCO Cairo Office, Phone: (202) 794-5599, Email:

Petra is located in the south-west region of Jordan about 200 km south of Amman. Petra was carved in sandstone canyons by the Nabatean Arabs over 2,000 years ago. Today, it is a major tourism attraction as its monuments are considered the jewels of Jordan. Flooding poses a serious threat to the tourism activities in Petra as well as to Petra monuments themselves. In this paper, an integrated approach of watershed management is introduced. A flood analysis model developed and calibrated for the Petra catchment is described. Using the model, flood flows and volumes are estimated for storm events of various return periods. To alleviate the impact of floods on tourism activities in Petra, several flood mitigation measures are proposed. The impact of these measures on flood peakflow and volume is evaluated. These measures include afforestation, terracing, construction of check and storage dams, as well as various combinations of these measures. The flood simulation model predicts that the measures can reduce flood peakflows and volumes by up to 70 percent.

Using SWAT to evaluate six non-point source pollution watershed projects

Barraut, C., Kurtz, W.R., Broz, R., Anderson, S.H., and Intarapapong, W.

Corresponding author: Claire Baffaut, University of Missouri, Phone: (573) 882-1251, Email:

Missouri has used a renewable sales tax to fund watershed-based conservation programs aimed at reducing non-point source pollution from agricultural areas. The tax is used to provide incentives toward the implementation of best management practices (BMPs) within a watershed. To assist with determining the effectiveness of the tax being used for conservation programs, six watersheds representing rain-fed cropland, irrigated cropland, and pasture agricultural systems in Missouri were selected to determine if the funded practices protected water quality and reduced NPS pollution. In this analysis, the six projects have been evaluated with the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT2003). SWAT is a physically-based, continuous simulation, watershed-scale model developed to predict the impact of land use and land management practices on water quantity and quality. Models were developed and calibrated for these watersheds. The BMPs to be implemented during the projects were simulated with the model to estimate potential reductions in nutrient, sediment, and pesticide loadings to the stream and at the outlet of the watersheds. The SWAT parameters that affect the hydrologic and water quality processes modified by the implementation of the BMPs were adjusted. A survey of the literature assisted in ascertaining whether the response or lack of response of the model to parameter adjustment followed expectations or whether a lack of response indicated a deficiency of the model. Relative costs and efficiencies of the practices were compared. The overall reductions expected from the projects were compared to the spatial and annual variability of the loadings.

Enhancing sustainable grazing by restoring hydrologic function

Bienz, C., and Lindsay, R.J.

Corresponding author: Craig Bienz, The Nature Conservacy, Phone: (541) 273-0789, Email:

Water management to provide for the needs of humans and ecosystems is continually evolving and solutions for meeting both ongoing. In the Klamath Basin, balancing water use has included wetlands, which have been diked and drained to increase water supply and farm land. These same wetlands provide a significant ecological function, habitat for biodiversity and critical habitat for fish. At Sycan Marsh our objective was to design and implement a water management program that was within the constraints of existing water law, provide 10,000 Animal Unit Months and increase the quality of wetland habitat. In 2002 we filled a four km drain to restore the historic hydrologic conditions within a 5,000 ha wetland. Surface and groundwater elevations were monitored with piezometers. Annual precipitation was strongly associated with the hydroperiod, for water above the soil surface and in the rooted zone. The number of Animal Unit Months increased to almost 14,000 in 2005. Habitat for fish and wildlife increased along with waterbird population abundance.

Geospatial Inventory and Assessment of Sediment from Unpaved Roads

Crosswhite, D.L., Inlander, E., Eps, M.V., and Formica, S.

Corresponding author: Doyle L. Crosswhite, The Nature Conservancy, Phone (479) 973-9110, Email:

The Kings River watershed, in Northwest Arkansas, is uniquely diverse both geographically and ecologically and is the last unimpounded tributary of the White River hosting thirty endemic species. Sedimentation is a principal stressor and unpaved roads are a significant source of suspended sediment in the Kings River watershed. Sedimentation impacts aquatic habitats by filling interstitial spaces of gravel stream beds, interfering with the gills and suffocating eggs of fish, amphibians, and benthic insects.

The Nature Conservancy partnered with the Watershed Conservation Resource Center to evaluate the unpaved road infrastructure and sediment contributions in Dry Fork Creek, a subwatershed of the Kings River. A GIS based inventory of the road network was developed. The inventory included line features such as surface substrate type and ditch condition, and point features like bridge locations, culverts, and cross-drains. Sediment loads entering streams from the road network were estimated using the U.S. Forest Service Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) road model to determine the contributions from this source.

The watershed area is approximately 54 mi2. The GPS inventory included 60.6 miles of publicly owned unpaved roads, and the road density was 1.1 mi/mi2. The annual sediment load entering the stream network from the erosion of publicly owned, unpaved roads for the Dry Fork Creek watershed was estimated to be 1,089 tons. The estimated sediment loading ratio from public unpaved roads was 20 ton/mi2.

Results will be used to develop plans for improving unpaved roads and reducing sediment delivery to streams in the watershed.

Determination of flows reaching navigable waters

Cataldo, J., Behr, C., and Pierce, R.

Corresponding author: Joseph Cataldo, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Phone: (212) 353-4300, Email:

In considering the longitudinal limit of federal authority, one consideration must be whether ordinary flow reaches navigable waters. A major element of that analysis is transmission losses (TL) that occur as water flows from its point of origin to its ultimate surface extent. The goal of this study is the formulation of a process that would allow an individual to use existing data to estimate whether "ordinary" flow will reach navigable waters. The site is an experimental watershed, Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed (WGEW), located in southeast Arizona. TL was estimated by subtracting outflow volume at a downstream gage from inflow volume at the upstream gage. When these TL are modeled against the inflow volume and or peak inflow discharge, a consistent pattern emerges. The parametric models were used to predict TL in Queen Creek based on upstream flows. Queen Creek is located east of Phoenix, Arizona. Reasonable approximations of the published losses at Queen Creek were obtained from the predictive equations. TL were also estimated for several sites in Midwestern streams. The slope of the lines describing the rates of TL are similar to WGEW slopes, but the TL were lower for the Midwestern sites. A possible link to describe these differences is shown to be the particle size of the streambed material. From the Clean Water Act policy perspective, rates of TL as estimated from inflow volume or peak discharge may be converted to distance using a simple technique.

A historical look at land use changes and conservation problems in the Goodwin Creek CEAP watershed

Dabney, S.M., and Kuhnle, R.A.

Corresponding author: Seth M. Dabney, USDA-ARS National Sedimentation Laboratory, Phone: (662) 232-2975, Email:

The Goodwin Creek watershed provides an instructive case study of how a watershed's land use, hydrologic, geomorphologic, and water quality characteristics can change over time; demonstrates how piecemeal application of accepted best management practices can have unanticipated long term consequences; and illustrates the challenges inherent in attempting to assess the impact of conservation practices at the watershed or landscape scale. Goodwin Creek watershed is located in north central Mississippi, has a drainage area of 21.3 km2, and receives an average of about 1400 mm rainfall annually. Land use has changed dramatically during the last 200 years. In 1805, the watershed was largely forested. By 1905 most of the land had been cleared and upland erosion was excessive, sediment clogged channels, and bottomlands flooded frequently. The period from 1910 to 1950 was characterized by stream channelization and dam construction activities aimed at alleviating flooding. Subsequently, upland conservation and reforestation projects came to the fore. As the amount of sediment generated from upland areas was reduced, a new problem of channel bank and bed erosion developed in the steepened channel system. In 1990, watershed sediment yield was 14.7 Mg/ha, 85% of which originated from eroding stream channels. Limiting CEAP studies to the effects of cropland conservation practices applied since 1985 would miss the context of what has gone before and might show small watershed-scale impact.

Effects of snow-making, grading, and timber harvest on stream channel morphology in the White River National Forest, Colorado

David, L.G., Bledsoe, B.P., Merritt, D.M., and Wohl, E.

Corresponding author: Gabrielle C.L. David, Colorado State University, Department of Geosciences, Fort Collins, Phone: (617) 872-5306, Email:

The White River National Forest is responsible for managing and protecting the ecological integrity of streams in some of the major ski resorts in Colorado. The combined effects of timber harvesting, snowmaking, grading, and road construction can increase streamflows but the effects of these four activities on channel stability are not well documented. Increased flow can result in bank failure, increased amounts of wood, pool scour and bed coarsening. Specific channel response to increased flows associated with ski resort activities partly depend on the type of vegetation growing along stream banks and the amount of human development in the basin.

We hypothesize that a threshold of development must be attained before the stream channel is significantly impacted. To test this hypothesis, we surveyed channel condition, channel dimensions, and vegetation along 49 reaches (200-300 m in length). Twenty-four of these streams are within ski areas (project streams), either adjacent to or downstream from ski slopes. Twenty-five "reference" streams have very little to no development in their basins. These streams are used to define reference conditions bank stability, bank undercutting, bank height, bank angle, percent of wood, pool depth, sediment size, and vegetation structure. A Principle Component Analysis will be utilized to ordinate and allow comparison of project and reference streams. The effects of vegetation on bank height, angle and stability will also be determined. These data will help in the revision of a forest management plan to provide guidelines for planning and development of ski areas on public lands.

The desertification of Eastern Oregon: Prompting management of western juniper for watershed health

Deboodt, T.L., Buckhouse, J.C., Fisher, M.P., Hudspeth, G., and Swanson, J.

Corresponding author: Timothy L. Deboodt, OSU Crook County Extension Service, Prineville, Oregon, Phone: (541) 447-6228, Email:

Western juniper's (Juniperus occidentalis) dominance on eastern Oregon's rangelands has dramatically increased over the last 100 years. Eastern Oregon landscapes now occupied by western juniper (forest and Savannah's types) exceed 6 million acres, a 5 fold increase from the 1930s. Western juniper water use models show that as few as 9 trees per acre can capture most of the soil moisture over a given area. Studies show that juniper canopies can intercept 50-74 percent of precipitation and evaporate it back into the atmosphere. Calculations of water use show that three million acres of juniper has a water demand equivalent to 300,000 acres of irrigated crops. Anecdotal information underpins the hypothesis that western juniper expansion may be negatively impacting both ground and surface water production, posing attendant risks to urban, agricultural, and wild lands. Since no completed research addressing these risks exists, a Paired Watershed Study in central Oregon was initiated. Since 1994, two adjacent, 260-acre juniper-dominated watersheds have been calibrated and baseline data continually collected for a range of attributes. In the "control" watershed, the juniper woodland has not been disturbed. In the other watershed, all post settlement aged junipers were mechanically felled in 2005. Through subsequent, comparative data collection and analysis this case study will determine if juniper expansion has a negative impact on hydrologic regimes, and, if so, whether juniper reduction is a viable option for addressing these impacts. Policy implications include the use of juniper control to mitigate downstream water development.

Developing revegetation practices for drastically disturbed military training lands

Fox, W.E., Keating, M.S, Jones, C.A., and Harris, B.L.

Corresponding author: William E. Fox, Texas Water Resources Institute, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Phone: (979) 845-1851, Email:

Restoration practices for military training areas provide unique challenges to traditional methods of rangeland revegetation. The eastern section of Texas' Edwards Plateau is home to the US Army's Fort Hood. Fort Hood is the only US military base to house and train two active military divisions, 4th Infantry Division and 1st Calvary Division. Primary training for the two divisions takes place on the installations 67,000 acre West Range. The Range Revegetation Pilot Project was established to implement and evaluate innovative approaches to vegetation restoration on lands impacted by training maneuvers of heavy military vehicles. Maneuvers have resulted in erosion problems, loss of training land and sedimentation in local streams and reservoirs. The objectives of the project are 1) development of Best Management Practices for vegetation restoration using composted dairy manure as a soil amendment and 2) evaluation of impacts of composted dairy manure on revegetation, soil fertility, water quality and soil erosion. Vegetation, soils and water quality monitoring have been established at five locations to evaluate environmental factors impacted by these studies. Primary activities focus on developing compost application rates and vegetation responses. Initial results of monitoring indicate compost amendments have had significant impact on soil fertility and establishment and growth of vegetation. Water quality evaluations have not indicated significant losses of nutrients in treated area runoff. Results will be evaluated to develop standard operating procedures for the Army in the use of compost to revegetate training lands and as a result, reduce the impacts of training on erosion processes.

Landuse change and gully erosion in the piedmont region of Sumter National Forest, South Carolina, United States

Galang, M.A., Markewitz, D., Morris, L.A, and Bussell, P.

Corresponding author: Marco A. Galang, D.B. Warnell School of Forest Resources, University of Georgia, Phone: (706) 542-2686, Email:

Land use change in the southeastern United States played an important role in the formation of gullies present today in the Piedmont region. Areas, once cultivated for cotton production, remain dissected by gullies but are now covered with forest vegetation. A study to assess the present day stability or instability of these gullies was conducted to present a continuum in land use change and erosion from forest to agriculture and back to forest. Based on 1939 to 1999 aerial photographs, a descriptive analysis of gullies was conducted comparing areas found to be open or cultivated in 1939 that had converted to forest by 1999 versus areas that were forested throughout this period. Field surveys that quantified characteristics of recent erosion such as % bare soil or forest floor cover revealed that the majority of gullies in both areas are stable. Surprisingly, more gullies, that are deeper and longer, are observed in the continually forested areas (~4 per 200 m transect, ave. depth= 54 cm, ave. length= 36 m) than in the cultivated to forest areas (~2 per 200 m transect, ave. depth= 46 cm, ave. length= 30 m). This equated to a higher estimated average total volume eroded in the continually forested areas compared to the cultivated to forested areas. It is believed that the forested areas, which had steeper average slopes, where once cultivated and abandoned early due to more rapid gully formation.

Spatial analysis of forest service capability criteria for watershed management and soil conservation

Haak, A.L., Carter, J.G., and Brawer, J.M.

Corresponding author: John G Carter, Western Watersheds Project, Phone: (435) 881-5404, Email:

The Bear River Range in SE Idaho provides water for local communities. These watersheds are managed by the Caribou National Forest for a variety of extractive and recreational uses including logging, livestock grazing, hunting, fishing, off-road vehicle use, irrigation and hydroelectric diversions. The National Forest Management Act requires that these lands be managed in a sustainable manner without impairment of productivity. Recent assessments show reduced ground cover, accelerated erosion, impairment of streams by sediment and fecal pollution. A key element of Forest Service management for decades has been the determination of lands that are capable and suitable for uses such as livestock grazing. Capability analyses are data driven, including consideration of factors such as slope and risk of soil erosion, without the subjective social evaluation that arises in suitability determinations. This analytical framework with established quantitative criteria lends itself well to external evaluation. This paper will use spatial modeling techniques to evaluate Forest Service livestock management practices from a capability perspective. This paper first evaluates the agency's capability analysis to determine whether or not they have correctly applied their own criteria. The second portion of this analysis then assesses the effectiveness of their capability criteria for minimizing livestock impacts. This will involve an assessment of current watershed conditions relative to capability classifications and a sensitivity analysis to determine how the criteria might be modified in order to promote sustainable use, maintenance of watershed function and water delivery.

River-friendly farms for the Raritan Basin watershed

Hale, K.P., Hall, C., and Snyder, C.

Corresponding author: Kathleen P Hale, New Jersey Water Supply Authority, Phone: 908-685-0315 ext 28, Email:

The Raritan Basin Watershed Management Project identified 59% of the assessed streams in the Basin as impaired for phosphorus. Many subwatersheds have multiple water quality impairments, including fecal coliform.

In 2003, the New Jersey Water Supply Authority (NJWSA) received a USEPA Targeted Watershed Grant to implement River-Friendly Golf, Business and Resident programs in the South Branch and Main-stem Raritan River Watersheds. Realizing that a River-Friendly Farm (RFF) program would complement those programs, NJWSA funded development and pilot implementation of the RFF program by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the North Jersey Resource Conservation and Development Council (NJRC & D). NJRC & D also received a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) from NRCS to implement the program in another watershed.

This presentation will highlight our work with the Raritan Watershed Agricultural Committee (RWAC), a group of proactive farmers and other technical experts, working to develop the program. RFF goals include:

1. Provide positive recognition to farmers who have implemented soil and water conservation best management practices (BMPs) and are good stewards of the land.

2. Assist farmers in assessing their potential water quality impacts.

3. Assist farmers in implementing any needed BMPs.

As of December 2005, program criteria were drafted and under review by the committee. Pilot implementation with RWAC members is scheduled for early 2006, followed by implementation in the target sub-watersheds by mid-2006.

Existing River-Friendly programs have demonstrated on the ground changes that reduce pollution entering waterways while still maintaining the operation's economic viability. We anticipate similar results from the Raritan program.

Is consensus required for the legitimacy of watershed planning?

Hall, B., Kraft, S.E., Klauser, J., Adams, J., and Lant, C.

Corresponding author: Steven E. Kraft, Environmental Resources and Policy Program, SIUC, Phone: (618) 453-2421, Email:

Watershed partnerships and other collaborative organizations have become the primary tool for dealing with the complex problem of non-source point pollution in the US. The possible lack of legitimacy of these organizations has become a topic of some concern. Blocking action by some stakeholders or a simple refusal to cooperate may threaten the success of efforts to improve water quality and socioeconomic conditions within the watershed.

An attempt is made to examine and evaluate the different views of legitimacy in natural resources management. There is divergence regarding the concept of consensus; however, with varying authors presenting different opinions concerning the need for consensus in resource management. The question becomes, "Is consensus required for the legitimacy of watershed planning?"

In the Cache River basin of southern Illinois, a watershed organization achieved consensus on outcomes, but a survey of residents discovered possible legitimacy concerns. Of particular note were questions regarding the make-up of the planning committee. Composed almost entirely of farmers selected from local soil and water conservation districts this committee membership was unacceptable to a large majority (85%) of residents within the watershed.

The Cache River results and a review of other watershed partnerships leads to the conclusion that true consensus in the traditional form of the word is less important than a process that involves divergent stakeholders. Consensus by a homogenous group of actors might be less legitimate than one where disagreements develop over plans and outcomes, but is inclusive of divergent interest groups and citizens during the planning process.

Multiple partners provide the key to mine restoration project success

Lles, J.

Corresponding author: Jerry Iles, Ohio State University Extension, Phone: (740) 289-2071 ext 116, Email:

Community--Based watershed groups located in rural areas in southern Ohio often lack engineering and technological resources needed for effective watershed planning and restoration activities. Ohio State University Extension provided leadership for a partnership which combined a heavy equipment operator class from a two year technical college with OSU Agricultural Engineering students to design and build a stream restoration project.

This case study involves a southeastern Ohio watershed damaged by resource extraction of clay and coal. The site was identified as contributing to sediment loading in Raccoon Creek by the local watershed project. Zaleski State Forest purchased the land and has planted trees to help slow the runoff and sedimentation. Over 10,000 hikers visit this area annually making it a perfect site for Extension and education activities Students were challenged to provide conceptual plans to restore the water quality and reduce sediment loading from the former coal and clay mining site.

Several state and federal agencies are collaborating on this project and $76,000 was awarded to OSU Extension by the Department of Interior's Office of Surface Mining for restoration engineering and construction.

Results have seen the pH increase from an average of 2.9 to 6.5-7.0.

Sediment loading has been drastically reduced. The bulk of the project was constructed using students. The project will provide an excellent site for future Extension and outreach programs.

Restricting grazing to enhance phytoremediation of a shallow aquifer

Jordan, F.L., Glenn, E.P., Glier, J.C., McKeon, C.A., and Waugh, W.J

Corresponding author: Fiona L. Jordan, Environmental Research Laboratory, Soil, Water and Environmental Science, University of Arizona, Phone: (520) 971-6815, Email:

A preliminary study examining the effects of restricted grazing on phytoremediation of a nitrate plume was conducted using grazing exclosures constructed around 24 plant pairs (12 Atriplex canescens and 12 Sarcobatus vermiculatus) of similar initial size (1?3 m3 per plant). Canopy volume, ground cover area, and biomass density were measured for each shrub for 3 consecutive years. Plants were subsampled for biomass harvesting and analyzed for total nitrogen content, nitrate and ammonium. Net annual productivity of ungrazed plants was approximately 1.5 times that of the grazed plants. Ungrazed plants had significantly (P<0.05) higher total N content and nitrate than grazed plants demonstrating that productivity and canopy volume increases markedly when grazing is eliminated. Furthermore, using stable isotopes of H, and O, we were able to show that the plants are rooted into the phreatic zone of the alluvial aquifer. Nitrogen extraction rates by plants are estimated to be 25 kg ha-1 yr-1 assuming that the nitrogen in plant tissues originates from nitrate found in the phreatic zone where plants are utilizing the water. Under current range conditions, the remediation of the contaminated plume is estimated to take 108 years but by restricting grazing, the extrapolated cleanup time drops to 15 years to phytoremediate the entire 130 ha plume area as plant cover and evapotranspiration rates increase over the plume.

Technical support for developing watershed plans from EPA's Nonpoint Source Management Program (Section 319)

Lehman, S.W.

Corresponding author: Stuart W. Lehman, US EPA, Phone: (202) 566-1205, Email:

This session describes EPA's approach to integrated watershed planning, including several new web-based planning tools, and the agency's new draft watershed planning handbook produced by the Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds, Non-point Source Program. The Handbook shows how to construct plans to meet state water quality standards while at the same time addressing other waters resource issues, such as habitat quality and water supply. EPA describes its outreach strategy for training through live courses, web casts, self-paced on-line training, and teleconferencing.

The draft outreach document entitled, "Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore Our Waters" is available on the web and in print. However, due to its breadth in dealing with watershed management data and programs, EPA is providing targeted training to give state and local users first hand assistance in using the handbook. The handbook covers many of the more difficult technical issues, such as targeting non-point source management measures for optimum water quality response, identifying pollutant loads from various sources, estimating the effectiveness of management measures, and designing monitoring programs to assess project effectiveness.

EPA will also describe efforts it is undertaking to integrate environmental planning across various programs within its Office of Water. EPA is designing its new watershed planning related products based on its experiences in working with state water quality program managers, local soil and water conservation districts, NRCS field offices, and other watershed management organizations.

Sustaining a diverse and committed partnership for the long-term restoration of watershed health in Utah

Martinez, A.J., Reynolds, R., Gillen, S., and Mckee, M.

Corresponding author: A.J. Martinez, Utah Partners for Conservation & Development, Phone: (801) 718-8893, Email:

Data suggests that the west has been in a multi-decade drying trend. Coupled with other exacerbating issues this has resulted in a general decline in the health of watersheds in Utah. This has opened the window for the invasion by pernicious non-native plants and pathogens. The results include the loss of productive farms and ranches, severe impacts to wildlife habitat, and have reduced the ability of the landscape to produce water for culinary, agricultural, and industrial uses. This has had and will continue to have severe impacts on social, environmental, and economic values in Utah unless the downward trend in watershed health can be mitigated or reversed. The Utah Partners for Conservation and Development (UPCD) was formed twelve years ago by concerned state and federal agency, university, and NGO leaders to develop and implement solutions to improve watershed values on private and public lands. The UPCD identifies statewide natural resource issues then cooperatively develops mitigation strategies with policy makers, NGO's, industry, agricultural producers, private landowners, Tribes, the public, and elected officials. Empowered multi-partner, multi-expertise ad hoc action teams implement these strategies at the watershed scale. Using shared funding, best science, a diversity of partners, and a public process the UPCD has successfully implemented long-term actions and projects across the state that promote healthy watershed values, generate implemental science, and support sustainable agriculture, improved wildlife habitat, and the increased production of high quality water.

Integral watershed management at Ayuquila River

Martinez, L.M., Graf, S., Santanta, E., and Garcia, S.

Corresponding author: Luis M. Martinez R, Instituto Manantlan de Ecologia y Conservacion de la Biodiversidad. Universidad de Guadalajara, Phone: (317) 382-5010, Email:

The river Ayuquila-armory is located in western Mexico, with an area of 9803 km2. The river is the northern limit of a Biosphere Reserve in one of the most important river in western Mexico. The river Ayuquila has suffered intense processes of degradation along more than 30 years, in spite of its biological importance, discharges of residual waters from a Sugar Mill with high content of organic matter and chemical discharges with high concentration of caustic soda; urban discharges from Autlan and the Grullo cities with strong content of pathogens bacteria; desiccation of the river Ayuquila for deviation of water for irrigation; and deforestation of the riverside vegetation, was during many years, the common pattern in the river Ayuquila, with problems of sanity in riverside residents, massive death of fish, abortion and death of domestic animals and with strong deterioration of the aquatic habitat. The work in the basin begun in 1989 and consolidated in 1994, a relative model of academic linking represents to the administration of the basin of the river Ayuquila in which participate a university in a rural context, government dependences, city councils, companies and the local population. The interdisciplinary studies about ecology, hydrology, quality of water, economic value of the water, environmental services payment, effectiveness of programs of environmental education, and creation of institutional mechanisms for the administration of basins with the civic participation, a process that Ayuquila culminated in the ecological recovery of the river after decades of environmental degradation for industrial contamination.

Watershed management in Alberta, Canada: A systems approach

Sinton, H.

Corresponding author: Heather Sinton, Alberta Environment, Phone: (403) 297-3628, Email:

Alberta is facing a number of pressures on its water resources due to rapid industrial, agricultural and municipal growth. The province developed a comprehensive, Water for Life Strategy in 2003 that identified short-, medium- and long-term plans to effectively manage the quantity and quality of Alberta's water. The specific outcomes agreed upon by a multi-stakeholder group included: healthy, sustainable ecosystems; a safe, secure drinking water supply; reliable, quality water supplies for a sustainable economy and the knowledge necessary to make effective water management decisions. The Alberta Water Council was formed to address implementation and policy issues with provincial scope. Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils (WPACs) are being formed for ten major watersheds in the province. The Water for Life Strategy states that WPACs will: lead watershed planning; develop best management practices; foster stewardship activities within the watershed; report on the state of the watershed and educate users of the water resource. Watershed planning is in transition: first, from water management planning to watershed planning, and second, from government-led planning to WPAC-led planning. The WPACs are implementing a systems approach whereby common outcomes with performance measures are set and action, implementation and monitoring plans are created to complement these. The presentation will demonstrate how the systems approach is being used to address specific issues within watersheds to achieve the province's desired outcomes.

Integrated ecological assessment for restoration of a coastal river ecosystem in South Florida

Wan, Y., Hu, G., Haunert, D., Hedgepeth, M, Walker, P., and Robbins, B.

Corresponding author: Yongshan Wan, Sounth Florida Water Management District, Phone: (561) 682-2732, Email:

The Loxahatchee River and Estuary, containing a federally-designated Wild and Scenic River system located on the east coast in South Florida, provides habitats supporting a wide spectrum of ecological resources including seagrasses, oysters, saltwater vegetation, and freshwater vegetation. Anthropogenic alterations of the Loxahatchee River watershed have resulted in significant encroachment of saltwater-tolerant, mangrove-dominated community into the freshwater, bald cypress-dominated floodplain. Restoration and protection of the floodplain ecosystem depends largely on providing healthy flow patterns to the river. During the planning process, a 39-year period of daily freshwater inflow into the river was simulated with a watershed model to ensure that a wide range of climatic conditions was included in the ecological assessment. Various flow scenarios were proposed and the resulting daily salinity along key assessment locations was simulated with a salinity management model. An integrated ecological assessment was carried out to evaluate the ecological benefits with respect to the health of freshwater floodplain vegetation, oysters, and seagrasses in response to these flow scenarios. Such an assessment is critical in selecting restoration alternatives to ensure that restoring one component of the ecosystem does not impose significantly adverse impacts on the others.

Holistic Management: Using technology appropriately to manage the land

Whitten, G., and Sullivan, J.

Corresponding author: George Whitten, Holistic Management International members, Colorado ranchers, Environmental educators, Phone: (505) 842-5252, Email:

Holistic Management has helped us learn how to create profit while we regenerate the land and water resources we steward. With Holistic Management we have a process and practice that helps us to evaluate the tools available to us to create healthy soils and water. We have retrained our tendency (and that of most resource managers) to rely heavily on technology as the solution for all problems. Instead we have learned how Nature functions, which allows us to collaborate with Nature and look at the other tools available to us to produce healthy soils and waters.

The La Semilla Project was a demonstration site where we showed how Holistic Management improves the soil. La Semilla as a project had demonstrated how faulty over-reliance on technology (mechanical revegetation) resulted in no environmental health improvement. We took that piece of land and are currently improving soil health.

We look at all our agricultural practices to see how we can use technology in the most effective and least destructive way. For example, hay piles are an appropriate technological solution because we are using technology in an appropriate or optimum way by using the energy available from the animals as a replacement for fuel which results in economic benefits. Likewise, we are cycling nutrients in a small area which results in improved ecological health demonstrated through increased biodiversity, food value for livestock, and presence of wildlife.

Notill farming practices on the Columbia plateau; changes in field erosion and stormflow

Williams, J.D., Robertson, D.S.

Corresponding author: John D. Williams, USDA-ARS, Columbia Plateau Conservation Research Center, Pendleton OR, Phone: (541) 278-4412, Email:

Early farming practices on the Columbia plateau led to excessive soil loss; lower cropland productivity, fouled in-stream habitat for andronomous and non-andronomous salmonids and eels, and deposition of sediment in first, second, third, and fourth order stream channels. Four first order drainages, and one hillslope were instrumented with flumes and storm sediment samplers, with areas, respectfully, 25.0, 18.1, 10.4, and 6.2 ha, and 1.6 ha. The 6.2 ha drainage was managed using fallow and inversion tillage practices. All other drainages, and the hillslope site, were notilled. The total crop year precipitation ranged from 286 mm during crop year 2005 to 440 mm during crop year 2003. In runoff events from October, 2002 to September, 2005, the conventionally tilled drainage yielded 5.1 mm stormflow, whereas the notilled drainages yielded 0.7 mm. Total annual erosion from the conventionally tilled drainage was 391 kg/ha and 3.5 kg/ha from the notilled drainages. Notill practices effectively controlled runoff and erosion, at scales both larger than and smaller than the conventionally tilled area. These results demonstrate the immediate soil and water conservation effectiveness of notill technology. They also portend changes in the downstream processes as channels adjust to reduced stormflow volume and energy, and a reduced sediment supply.

The Kentucky watershed modeling information portal: Information crosscutting--stream-side to PC to stream-side

Zourarakis, D.P., Schaffer, K., Odom, K., Bacharach, S.A., and Harp, G.R.

Corresponding author: Demetrio P. Zourarakis, Ph.D., Remote Sensing and GIS Analyst, Kentucky Division of Geographic Information, Phone: (502) 573-1450 ext 34, Email:

A wide variety of watershed monitoring data are utilized as input to hydrologic models that allow for simulation of possible land and water resource management scenarios. The Kentucky Watershed Modeling Information Portal (KWMIP) will provide a one-stop digital geospatial data portal for any entity performing watershed modeling (with any of the 2 to 5 models supported by KWMIP) over the geography of Kentucky. The necessary data and metadata, will be extracted from their native information services, preprocessed and delivered to the modelers' desktops. KWMIP will thus significantly increase the efficiency of modeling activities in Kentucky, currently requiring time-consuming data access and pre-processing activities.

KWMIP ( will strongly leverage existing geospatial information infrastructure, such as data portals already in operation in Kentucky, most prominently the KY Geonet ( and its data holdings, including recent land cover products--the 2001 National Landcover Data Set(NLCD01), imperviousness and canopy closure--and imagery, all generated by the Kentucky Landscape Snapshot Project ( In addition, data from bordering states will be accessible as Kentucky's Commonwealth Map is part of the National Map ( and the Geospatial One Stop ( efforts.

KWMIP, a USEPA-funded project relies on an extensive and inclusive technical advisory group which helped generate a users' need assessment and a use case design document that will be the basis for the pilot-build phase, to start in early 2006. KWMIP will--in its final phase--also provide training for KY personnel in watershed modeling and use of models in decision-making.
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Publication:Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Date:May 1, 2006
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