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Success Stories - Watershed Studies

  1. The Bosque River Watershed Ecosystem Restoration Initiative

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    The Bosque River Watershed Ecosystem Restoration Initiative (PDF, 160 KB)

    Ecosystem Restoration Project Plan Bosque River Watershed (PDF, 2,504 KB)

    Through interagency cooperation, both the USACE and NRCS can demonstrate the benefits of resource management system planning and application on ecosystem restoration and water quality and quantity in the Bosque River Watershed.  The USACE contacted NRCS to help "demonstrate" ecosystem restoration in the Bosque River Basin. NRCS developed an Ecosystem Restoration Plan for the Bosque River Watershed. Funding for the Bosque Initiative was authorized for $10 million by the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007, with a local match of 25% required by the legislation. Funding for the Bosque River Watershed is subject to annual appropriations. The USACE is working on a Comprehensive Plan for the Bosque.  Other agencies involved include TAMU, Texas Water Resources Institute, Spatial Sciences Lab, Texas Institute of Applied Environmental Research, Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, local SWCDs, and Brazos River Authority.
  2. USACE Western States Watershed Study
    The Western States Watershed Study is one of five national Corps studies being conducted under the authority of PL 109-103.  The FY 2006 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act directed the Secretary of the Army to conduct at full federal expense, comprehensive analyses that examine multi-jurisdictional use and management of water resources on a watershed or regional scale.  To the extent possible, the Western States Watershed Study activities will be conducted in a collaborative manner and include the development of strategic plans for future activities consistent with the over-arching goal to help implement several high priority recommendations identified in the Western Governors�Association (WGA) and Western States Water Council (WSWC) June 2006 "Water Needs and Strategies for a Sustainable Future" report.  For example, the Corps and NRCS are jointly pursuing drought management issues within this study effort through the NRCS Snow Recovery and Water Supply Forecasting Program.  Opportunities for additional collaboration exist in areas ranging from: 1) watershed approach, 2) development of watershed tools, 3) managing natural hazards, 4) addressing infrastructure needs and 5) related policy and program areas. We encourage additional discussion to identify areas of mutual interest and programmatic focus in these and other areas. Additionally, the WGA and WSWC are seeking Federal assistance/involvement in a wide range of priority management areas they have identified.
     
  3. USACE Virgin River Watershed Analysis
    The USACE is currently collaborating with NRCS in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada, as well as other agencies and organizations.  The Virgin River Basin is one of the largest, essentially unregulated and free flowing river systems in the Western United States.  It is being impacted at an unprecedented rate from urban development.  Much of this development is occurring in lowland areas adjacent to (or within) floodplains and high hazard areas and critically important habitats for protected and sensitive wildlife species.  Another issue here is flooding in the aftermath of wildfires.  Through collaborative efforts, the study team will produce a watershed plan that assists stakeholders in the Virgin River in successful management of the river and its related resources.  NRCS intends to follow the USACE assessment with  NRCS Rapid Watershed Assessments for Meadow Valley Wash and the Muddy River, most likely using much of the same data, and reviewing it with the other contributors.
     
  4. Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) Partnership, OH, IN, MI
    The Corps�Buffalo District and the Ohio State Conservationists Office are the co-chairs of the WLEB Partnership.  The goal of this Partnership is to develop measures to improve flood damage reduction, navigation, fish and wildlife habitat, water quality and recreation, in a comprehensive management framework for the Maumee, Portage and Ottawa River watersheds.  The WLEB study area includes eight Congressional Districts, three states, and 7,200 square miles of drainage area.  The study area land use is roughly 80% agricultural and it includes the largest watershed (the Maumee) on the Great Lakes which arguably contributes more sediment to the Great Lakes, specifically to the ecologically sensitive Lake Erie, than any other watershed in the system.  The first action between NRCS and USACE was the signing of a Local Partnership Agreement between the Buffalo District and the NRCS Area 1, Ohio office.  The second action between NRCS and USACE brought USFWS, USGS, USEPA, three Governors Representatives, three State Technical Committees, the National Association of Conservation Districts and the Maumee Basin Partnerships of Local Governments into a Leadership Committee that helps guide the collaborative planning efforts of the WLEB Partnership.  This politically significant Partnership is considered a model for collaborative planning by many on the Great Lakes and has been recognized by members of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration (GLRC) as a prototype for success concerning Great Lakes restoration.
     
  5. South Atlantic Division (USACE)
    Hosted a Regional Sediment Management Watershed Workshop in August 2007, which focused on evaluating sediment management within a watershed context.  It was a multi agency effort.  NRCS served  on the planning committee and was also supportive in providing speakers and presentations.
     
  6. Cibolo Creek Watershed, Texas
    The Project Delivery Team has pioneered the sequential application of vegetative, hydrologic, and hydraulic models to evaluate the interaction of various management measures with respect to the flood damage reduction, water supply, and ecosystem restoration dimensions of water management within the Cibolo Watershed.  Alternatives under evaluation include combinations of watershed-scale best management practices and a series of strategically located small dams to attenuate the flood peaks and encourage flood flows to recharge the aquifer instead of flooding downstream communities.  To test this hypothesis, several models were built.  A state-of �he �rt dynamic ecological model explicitly evaluates the role played by landscape vegetation in the apportioning of a region� water budget to evapo-transpiration, infiltration, and runoff.  The model was calibrated and ground verified in cooperation with the NRCS.  Vegetative clippings were collected over 46 line transects representing the typical vegetation in the watershed.  This 5-day joint effort between the Corps Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC), NRCS and the Corps Fort Worth District, the Project Delivery Team (PDT) ensured proper vegetative species within the watershed was modeled by the Ecological Dynamic Simulation model.  The NRCS�institutional knowledge of the watershed helped develop a suite of site-specific and practical best management practices to be modeled in EDYS.  Combining NRCS�Ecological Site Descriptions (ESD) that account for rainfall, soil type, slopes, depth of topsoil, etc. Best Management Practice (BMP) treatments were modeled over the long term to ascertain the ultimate Habitat Suitability Index (HIS) attainable.  This innovative use of the ESD to quantify potential Habitat Evaluation Procedure (HEP) benefits has strong field support from both Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and USFWS. 
     
  7. USACE Ala Wai Canal Project and NRCS Manoa Watershed Project
    The feasibility phases of both the NRCS Manoa Watershed Project (MWP) and the Corps Ala Wai Canal Project (AWCP) are great examples of a collaborative effort between the two agencies.  The original intent was for the WMP to implement flood mitigation and restoration measures in advance of the AWCP (as desired by the community and as intended by Congress).  While the MWP focuses only on Manoa Stream, it would implement a subset of solutions that would have otherwise taken the Corps of Engineers longer and with less certainty, as the AWCP still needed to be authorized.  Though the implementation of the MWP is now uncertain, the feasibility phase efforts are truly collaborative and will result in a better product than if the Corps was developing flood mitigation and restoration measures on its own.  In fact, what is being learned and developed by the multiagency study team for Manoa Stream will have direct application on the rest of the watershed areas.
     
  8. USACE Snake River Programmatic Sediment Management Plan
    This is a USACE effort to develop a long-term plan to guide the Corps and identify feasible sediment management alternatives for maintaining the navigation channel and recreational and other facilities as well as flow conveyance concerns associated with four dams and reservoirs along the lower Snake River.  NRCS is involved and has contributed data and recommendations to the analysis.  NRCS could assist with some erosion control measures associated with implementation of the plan since the Corps does not have jurisdiction outside its own project boundaries.  It is possible that future pilot projects could be incorporated as part of the implementation of the sediment management plan.

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