10 Conservation Practices in Broader Context

Colby Moorberg, Tiffany Carter, and Eric Brevik

Abbreviations

CEAP – Conservation Effects Assessment Project
IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
EPA – US Environmental Protection Agency
NIFA – National Institute for Food and Agriculture
NRCS – Natural Resources Conservation Service
PDF – Portable Document Format
SWCS – Soil and Water Conservation Society
URL – Uniform Resource Locator
US – United States
USDA – US Department of Agriculture

The Conservation Effects Assessment Project

A map of the watersheds studied in CEAP
    A map of the 42 watersheds assessed as part of CEAP. Map courtesy of the USDA NRCS.

Arabi, M., D. W. Meals, and D. Hoag. 2012. Lessons Learned from the NIFA-CEAP: Simulation Modeling for the Watershed-scale Assessment of Conservation Practices. 6. Raleigh, NC: NC State University. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/simulation-modeling-for-the-watershed-scale-assessment-of-conservation-practices.pdf.

The CEAP was a multi-agency assessment project designed to quantify the effects of conservation practices, adopted by participating landowners in select USDA conservation programs, on the environment. This fact sheet summarizes lessons learned through CEAP and the use of simulation modeling for the assessment of conservation practices at the watershed scale. The URL offers a direct download of a PDF of this resource.

Hoag, D., A. E. Luloff, and D. L. Osmond. 2012. Lessons Learned from the NIFA-CEAP: How Farmers and Ranchers Make Decisions on Conservation Practices. 6. Raleigh, NC: NC State University. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/how-farmers-and-ranchers-make-decisions-on-conservation-practices.pdf.

This fact sheet summarizes the lessons learned through CEAP about the considerations farmer and rancher use in adopting conservation practices, focusing on why farmers adopt conservation practices, the importance of profit, and other influences on the likelihood of adopting conservation practice. The URL offers a direct download of a PDF of this resource.

Jennings, G. D., D. Hoag, M. L. McFarland, and D. L. Osmond. 2012. Lessons Learned from the NIFA-CEAP: Effective Education to Promote Conservation Practice Adoption. 5. Raleigh, NC: NC State University. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/effective-education-to-promote-conservation-practice-adoption.pdf.

This fact sheet summarizes the lessons learned from CEAP conservation education and outreach programs. The fact sheet discusses the importance of community cooperation; using local points of contact to promote conservation practices, outreach program effectiveness; use of local organizations and nonprofits; and coordination of extension, USDA NRCS, and state conservation agencies. The fact sheet clarifies that education and behavior change should not be confused and that education alone cannot always change behavior. The URL offers a direct download of a PDF of this resource.

Meals, D. W., D. L. Osmond, D. Hoag, M. Arabi, A. E. Luloff, G. D. Jennings, M. L. McFarland, J. Spooner, A. N. Sharpley, and D. E. Line. 2012a. Lessons Learned from the NIFA-CEAP: Insights for Developing Successful Agricultural Watershed Products. 6. Raleigh, NC: NC State University. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/insights-for-developing-successful-agricultural-watershed-products.pdf.

This CEAP fact sheet provides insights and recommendations for developing watershed scale agricultural projects. It begins with a background on how some watershed scale government conservation programs were successful in improving water quality, many such programs were not successful. The authors describe several explanations for why results varied among programs. The lessons learned from CEAP are then synthesized into a protocol designed as a guideline for implementing watershed-scale conservation efforts to improve water quality. The URL offers a direct download of a PDF of this resource.

Meals, D. W., D. L. Osmond, J. Spooner, and D. E. Line. 2012b. Lessons Learned from the NIFA-CEAP: Water Quality Monitoring for the Assessment of Watershed Projects. 6. Raleigh, NC: NC State University. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/water-quality-monitoring-for-the-assessment-of-watershed-projects.pdf.

This CEAP fact sheet summarizes lessons learned from using water quality monitoring to assess watershed scale projects. The lessons learned focus on using previously collected data; detecting water quality responses to treatments through monitoring; designing and conducting water quality assessment in watershed projects; and how monitoring affects other project activities. The URL offers a direct download of a PDF of this resource.

Meals, D. W., A. N. Sharpley, and D. L. Osmond. 2012c. Lessons Learned from the NIFA-CEAP: Identifying Critical Source Areas. 7. Raleigh, NC: NC State University. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/identifying-critical-source-areas.pdf.

This CEAP fact sheet summarizes lessons learned from identifying critical pollutant source areas. Critical source areas are parts of watersheds where sediment sources coincide with active hydrologic transport mechanisms to move the pollutant downstream. These critical source areas often contribute a disproportionate amount of pollution within a watershed and should therefore be targeted for conservation practices. Methods used to identify critical source areas within CEAP watersheds are described, along with descriptions of other potential techniques. The factsheet concludes with a section on how to target critical source areas with conservation practices and why doing so is critically important for improving water quality. The URL offers a direct download of a PDF of this resource.

Osmond, D. L., and L. Duriancik. 2019. Synthesis Report: CEAP-NIFA Competitive Grant Watershed Studies. https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/technical/nra/ceap/ws/?cid=stelprdb1047821.

The CEAP assessment project aimed to quantify the effects of conservation practices on the environment when adopted by participating landowners in select US Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation programs. This webpage provides links to various CEAP resources, including project fact sheets, project summaries, a synthesis report, and other resources.

Osmond, D. L., D. Meals, A. Sharpley, M. McFarland, and D. Line. 2012a. Lessons Learned from the NIFA-CEAP: Conservation Practice Implementation and Adoption to Protect Water Quality. 6. Raleigh, NC: NC State University. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/conservation-practice-implementation-and-adoption-to-protect-water-quality.pdf.

This fact sheet summarizes the lessons learned from adopting and implementing conservation practices intended to protect water quality. The fact sheet focuses on how conservation practice selection, timing, location, and relationships to other conservation practices influence water quality outcomes. Lessons learned were described as one part of implementing and maintaining conservation practices, controlling sediment, controlling nutrients, and the human dimension. The URL offers a direct download of a PDF of this resource.

Osmond, D. L., D. W. Meals, D. LK. Hoag, and M. Arabi, eds. 2012b. How to Build Better Agricultural Conservation Programs to Protect Water Quality: The National Institute of Food and Agriculture–Conservation Effects Assessment Project Experience. Ankeny, IA: Soil and Water Conservation Society. http://www.swcs.org/resources/publications/how-to-build-better-agricultural-conservation-programs-to-protect-water-quality.

The aim of the CEAP assessment project was to quantify the effects of conservation practices on the environment as adopted by participating landowners in select USDA conservation programs. This book, produced by the SWCS, synthesizes information from CEAP assessments. Readers can navigate to an online version of each chapter in the book by clicking the book image or by using the links in the middle of the webpage. A link to a printable PDF version of the full book is also available.

SWCS. 2006. Final Report from the Blue Ribbon Panel Conducting an External Review of the US Department of Agriculture Conservation Effects Assessment Project. 26. Ankeny, IA: Soil and Water Conservation Society. http://www.swcs.org/resources/publications/blue-ribbon-panel-conducting-a-review-of-ceap.

As a partner in the implementation of the CEAP program, the SWCS was charged with facilitating an external review of CEAP. This 26 page SWCS report summarizes the findings of the external review. The objectives of the external review were to gather, analyze, and synthesize input from future users of CEAP to help the USDA formulate CEAP and related outputs and to recommend changes or new approaches to producing comprehensive assessments. The report includes a recommendation for a change of direction for CEAP, a blueprint for strategic resource management, recommendations for how to build the science base, and cautions.

SWCS. 2007. Conservation Provisions of the 2007 Farm Bill: Opportunities to Inform Debate. 12. Ankeny, IA: Soil and Water Conservation Society. http://www.swcs.org/resources/publications/conservation-provisions-of-the-2007-farm-bill.

In the early stages of the program, CEAP appointed a “Blue Ribbon Panel” to summarize the ability of CEAP to inform the 2007 Farm Bill debate over conservation. Members of the panel included conservation experts in academia and across federal agencies. This report, produced by the SWCS, summarizes the results of the Blue Ribbon Panel dialogue.

USDA NRCS. 2019. About CEAP. https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/technical/nra/ceap/?cid=nrcs143_014135.

This web page provides an overview of the CEAP program and serves as an index of key CEAP reports and publications. The page includes a description of the scope of CEAP, and a list of lead agencies, partner agencies, and additional partners. Additional links are provided to major products and reports that summarize findings produced through CEAP.

Conservation Practices and Climate Change

Brevik, E. C. 2012. Soils and Climate Change: Gas Fluxes and Soil Processes. Soil Horizons 53(4):12–23. https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/sh/abstracts/53/4/12.

Increasing global temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns will affect the world’s soils, and those soils, in turn, will affect our atmospheric system. This review paper covers what we know about atmospheric-soil feedback of major greenhouse gases and ways that the changing climate will likely affect the resource. It also offers insights into needed research.

Shukla, P., J. Skea, E. Calvo Buendia, V. Masson-Delmotte, H.-O. Pörtner, D. C. Roberts, P. Zhai, R. Slade, S. Connors, R. van Diemen, M. Ferrat, E. Haughey, S. Luz, S. Neogi, M. Pathak, J. Petzold, J. Portugal Pereira, P. Vyas, E. Huntley, K. Kissick, M. Belkacemi, and J. Malley, eds. 2019. Climate Change and Land: an IPCC Special Report on Climate, Dessertification, Land Degradation, Sustainable Management, Food Security, and Greenhouse Gas Fluxes in Terrestrial Ecosystems. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. https://www.ipcc.ch/report/srccl/.

This is a special report by the IPCC and describes greenhouse gas fluxes from terrestrial systems, sustainable management strategies under a changing climate, and risks of desertification, land degradation, and food insecurity. It provides an update to previous similar reports.

Cover of the IPCC Report, Climate Change and Land
Cover of the IPCC Report, Climate Change and Land, Summary for Policymakers from Shukla et al. (2019)

SWCS. 2003. Conservation Implications of Climate Change: Soil Erosion and Runoff from Cropland. 26. Ankeny, Iowa: Soil and Water Conservation Society. http://www.swcs.org/resources/publications/conservation-implications-of-climate-change.

This SWCS report focused on whether or not precipitation changes due to climate change would affect soil erosion and runoff from cropland. They concluded that conservationists should be seriously concerned about the effects of climate change on soil and water resources in the US.

US EPA. 2016, January 20. Understanding Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources. https://www.epa.gov/watershedacademy/understanding-climate-change-impacts-water-resources.

This online module from the EPA is designed to improve understanding of the causes of climate change, the potential effects on water resources, and the challenges faced by water resource managers. The module is broken into three parts: climate change 101, building resiliency of water resources to climate change, and exploring your region. The module is designed for college freshmen and should take approximately 45 minutes to complete.

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Soil and Water Conservation: An Annotated Bibliography by Colby Moorberg, Tiffany Carter, and Eric Brevik is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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