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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: USDA WATERSHED RESEARCH - AN EVOLUTION IN MISSION

Authors
item Romkens, Mathias
item Richardson, Clarence

Submitted to: American Chemical Society Monograph Series
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: January 2, 2003
Publication Date: January 30, 2004
Citation: Romkens, M.J., Richardson, C.W. 2004. USDA watershed research - an evolution in mission. American Chemical Society Monograph Series #877. Washington, DC. American Chemical Society, p. 16-29.

Interpretive Summary: USDA watershed research has been of major interest to the agricultural and rural community of this nation ever since the establishment in the mid 1930s of the Soil Erosion Service, later called the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) and in 1994 renamed the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). While the early motivation and impetus for this research was driven by a need to evaluate the effectiveness of soil conservation practices at the watershed scale, today's focus seems primarily directed to environmental concerns. This chapter describes the evolutionary changes that have taken place over the years from soil conservation concerns in the 1930s, 1940s, and early 1950s, to concerns about hydrologic issues in the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, followed by water quality concerns (primarily surface water) in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, and now about to be driven by ecological issues. The paper will give a brief description of the principal locations where USDA-ARS (Agricultural Research Service) is conducting watershed research, the reason for their existence or mission, chronological information and physical details, as well as their main accomplishments. This chapter was written to provide a background and better understanding of the many issues of current MSEA (Management System Evaluation Area) research in the Mississippi Delta and elsewhere within the watershed context.

Technical Abstract: USDA watershed research has been of major interest to the agricultural and rural community of this nation ever since the establishment in the mid 1930s of the Soil Erosion Service, later called the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) and in 1994 renamed the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). While the early motivation and impetus for this research was driven by a need to evaluate the effectiveness of soil conservation practices at the watershed scale, today's focus seems primarily directed to environmental concerns. This chapter describes the evolutionary changes that have taken place over the years from soil conservation concerns in the 1930s, 1940s, and early 1950s, to concerns about hydrologic issues in the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, followed by water quality concerns (primarily surface water) in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, and now about to be driven by ecological issues. The paper will give a brief description of the principal locations where USDA-ARS (Agricultural Research Service) is conducting watershed research, the reason for their existence or mission, chronological information and physical details, as well as their main accomplishments. This chapter was written to provide a background and better understanding of the many issues of current MSEA (Management System Evaluation Area) research in the Mississippi Delta and elsewhere within the watershed context.

Last Modified: 10/31/2014
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