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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Quantifying Environmental Benefits Derived from Implementing Rangeland Conservation Practices to Improve Water Quality

Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research

Project Number: 2060-13610-001-11
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 21, 2012
End Date: May 30, 2015

Objective:
The primary purpose is to construct the scientific foundation for the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) by documenting what is known and what is not known about the environmental effects of conservation practices on rangelands hydrologic processes. The University of Nevada at Reno (UNR) is undertaking a cooperative project with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to document the status of knowledge regarding the environmental impact of conservation practices for improving water availability and quality in western watersheds. Specifically the project will: 1) quantify impact of cheatgrass on Great Basin ecosystem process; 2) quantify the impact conservation practices have on the hydrologic balance, water quality, and soil erosion processes of western rangelands; and 3) will improve the understanding of the sources, mobilization, and transport of dissolved solids in rangelands in the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB), generating knowledge which will generally be transferrable to other semi-arid and arid domestic and international rangelands.

Approach:
The University of Nevada at Reno will assist ARS in conducting an international literature search to document what is known about conservation practices and their ability to mitigate mobilization and transport of soil and dissolved solids into western river systems. Based on the literature review the team will design and execute experiments to evaluate the efficiency of the conservation practice in reducing soil erosion on arid and semi-arid rangelands. The ARS-UNR team will use both sources of information to improve the USDA Rangeland Hydrology and Erosion Model’s ability to predict how conservation practices will improve water quantity and quality of western rivers.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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