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NIFA Competitive Grant Watershed Studies

About the Studies

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA, formerly CSREES) Competitive Grant Watershed Studies are evaluating the effects of watershed conservation practices on water quality, with a focus on understanding how the suite of conservation practices, the timing of these activities, and the spatial distribution of these practices throughout a watershed influence their effectiveness. These studies include two additional components that 1) evaluate social and economic factors influencing implementation and maintenance of practices and 2) conduct outreach education to transfer knowledge from this research to farmers, ranchers, community leaders, and other stakeholders.

NIFA CEAP Homepage

New! Watershed Synthesis Study factsheet: Identifying Critical Source Areas, July 2014 (PDF; 2.8 MB)

Project updates (from annual NIFA National Water Land Grant – Sea Grant Conference)
Publications

The National Agricultural Library maintains a dynamic bibliography cataloging all NIFA watershed studies from 2003 to the present.

The Current Research Information System (CRIS) is USDA's documentation and reporting system for ongoing and recently completed research and education projects.

NIFA Synthesis Study cover image

Soil and Water Conservation Society — NIFA-CEAP Watershed Synthesis Study

As part of the CEAP Watershed Assessments, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and NRCS jointly funded 13 projects to evaluate the effects of cropland and pastureland conservation practices on spatial and temporal trends in water quality at the watershed scale. The new book, fact sheets, and webcast are available, August 2012.

CEAP Special Issue of the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation

Journal of Soil and Water Conservation — Special Issue on CEAP Competitive Grant Watershed Projects

The November/December 2010 issue (Volume 65, Number 6) of the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, published by the Soil and Water Conservation Society, is a special issue dedicated to CEAP competitive grant watershed projects. Features include an overview of the original 13 National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)-sponsored watershed assessment studies by Dr. Deanna Osmond of North Carolina State University, principal investigator for one of the two synthesis studies on the NIFA watershed studies. The issue also includes 12 research papers detailing findings from individual NIFA watershed assessment studies.

Map showing the watersheds used in the NIFA synthesis study

These documents may require Adobe Acrobat.

Competitive Grant Watersheds Location
Asotin Creek CRIS summary Washington
Cannonsville Reservoir Bibliography (Articles)
How to Build Better Agricultural Conservation Programs to Protect Water Quality: Chapter 17. Cannonsville Reservoir, New York, August 2012 (PDF; 3.5 MB)
A multivariate analysis of covariance to determine the effects of near-stream best management practices on nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations on a dairy farm in the New York Conservation Effects Assessment Project watershed, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Nov-Dec 2010
CRIS summary
New York
Cheney Lake Bibliography (Articles)
How to Build Better Agricultural Conservation Programs to Protect Water Quality: Chapter 14. Cheney Lake Watershed, Kansas, August 2012 (PDF; 2.8 MB)
CRIS summary
Kansas
Cowhouse Creek CRIS summary Texas
Eagle Creek Bibliography (Articles)
Locating Existing Best Management Practices Within a Watershed: The Value of Multiple Methods, Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 49 ( 4 ) pp. 883 - 895, August 2013
How to Build Better Agricultural Conservation Programs to Protect Water Quality: Chapter 13. Eagle Creek Watershed, Indiana, August 2012 (PDF; 3.3 MB)
CRIS summary
Indiana
Goodwater Creek Bibliography (Articles)
Bibliography (Books)
Fact Sheet (PDF; 3.3 MB)
How to Build Better Agricultural Conservation Programs to Protect Water Quality: Chapter 15. Goodwater Creek Watershed, Missouri, August 2012 (PDF; 2.6 MB)
Effects of long-term soil and crop management on soil hydraulic properties for claypan soils, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Nov-Dec 2010
CRIS summary
Missouri
High Plains Aquifer Bibliography (Articles)
Bibliography (Books)
How to Build Better Agricultural Conservation Programs to Protect Water Quality: Chapter 16. Groundwater beneath a Phase III Management Area in the Central Platte Natural Resources District, Nebraska, August 2012 (PDF; 1.6 MB)
CRIS summary
Nebraska
Lincoln Lake Bibliography (Articles)
How to Build Better Agricultural Conservation Programs to Protect Water Quality: Chapter 9. Lincoln Lake Watershed, Arkansas, August 2012 (PDF; 3.1 MB)
Impacts of land-use change and best management practice implementation in a Conservation Effects Assessment Project watershed: Northwest Arkansas, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. November-December 2010.
Effectiveness of best management practices in improving water quality in a pasture-dominated watershed, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Nov-Dec 2010
CRIS summary
Arkansas
Little River Bibliography (Articles)
Bibliography (Books)
Fact Sheet (PDF; 1.0 MB)
How to Build Better Agricultural Conservation Programs to Protect Water Quality: Chapter 10. Little River Experimental Watershed, Georgia, August 2012 (PDF; 4.1 MB)
Water quality effects of simulated conservation practice scenarios in the Little River Experimental watershed, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Nov-Dec 2010
Long Term Water Quality Responses to Conservation Practices in Nested Coastal Plain Watersheds, October 2006 (PDF; 2.7 MB)
CRIS summary
Georgia
Little Bear River Fact Sheet (PDF; 2.1 MB)
Poster (PDF; 6.5 MB)
How to Build Better Agricultural Conservation Programs to Protect Water Quality: Chapter 20. Chapter 21. Little Bear River Watershed, Utah, August 2012 (PDF; 2.3 MB)
Measuring conservation program best management practice implementation and maintenance at the watershed scale, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Nov-Dec 2010
CRIS summary
Utah
Lower Bad River CRIS summary South Dakota
Lower Calapooia River

Project Website
Bibliography (Articles)
How to Build Better Agricultural Conservation Programs to Protect Water Quality: Chapter 19. Calapooia Watershed, Oregon, August 2012 (PDF; 1.7 MB)
CRIS summary
Oregon Public Broadcasting Story
PBS National News Hour Story

Oregon
Paradise Creek Bibliography (Articles)
Fact Sheet (PDF; 1.5 MB)
Poster (PDF; 7.0 MB)
How to Build Better Agricultural Conservation Programs to Protect Water Quality: Chapter 12. Paradise Creek Watershed, Idaho, August 2012 (PDF; 2.0 MB)
Long-term sediment loading trends in the Paradise Creek watershed, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Nov-Dec 2010
Determinants of the adoption of conservation practices by farmers in the Northwest Wheat and Range Region, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Nov-Dec 2010
CRIS summary
Idaho
Rock Creek Bibliography (Articles)
Fact Sheet (PDF; 5.4 MB)
Poster (PDF; 6.4 MB)
How to Build Better Agricultural Conservation Programs to Protect Water Quality: Chapter 18. Rock Creek Watershed, Ohio, August 2012 (PDF; 2.5 MB)
Unusually large loads in 2007 from the Maumee and Sandusky Rivers, tributaries to Lake Erie, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Nov-Dec 2010
CRIS summary
Ohio
San Pedro - Willcox and Santa Cruz River Basins San Pedro Bibliography (Articles)
San Pedro Bibliography (Books)
San Pedro CRIS summary
Santa Cruz Bibliography (Articles)
Santa Cruz CRIS summary
Arizona
Spring Creek Bibliography (Articles)
Bibliography (Books)
Science Note—Water Quality Effects and Placement of Pasture BMPs in the Spring Creek Watershed (Centre County, PA), September 2014 (PDF; 0.3 MB)
How to Build Better Agricultural Conservation Programs to Protect Water Quality: Chapter 20. Spring Creek Watershed, Pennsylvania, August 2012 (PDF; 2.4 MB)
CRIS summary
Pennsylvania
Sny Magill and Walnut Creek Sny Magill Bibliography (Articles)
Sny Magill Fact Sheet (PDF; 1.3 MB)
Sny Magill Poster (PDF; 5.4 MB)
Walnut Creek Bibliography (Articles)
Walnut Creek Bibliography (Books)
Walnut Creek Fact Sheet (PDF; 2.2 MB)
Walnut Creek Poster (PDF; 7.0 MB)
How to Build Better Agricultural Conservation Programs to Protect Water Quality: Chapter 11. Walnut Creek and Squaw Creek Watersheds, Iowa, August 2012 (PDF; 2.9 MB)
Conservation practice establishment in two northeast Iowa watersheds: Strategies, water quality implications, and lessons learned, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Nov-Dec 2010
Targeting land-use change for nitrate-nitrogen load reductions in an agricultural watershed, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Nov-Dec 2010
Impact of crop rotations on optimal selection of conservation practices for water quality protection, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Nov-Dec 2010
The Costs and Benefits of Conservation Practices in Iowa, Iowa Ag Review Online, Fall 2006
CRIS summary
Iowa
Synthesis Projects Location
Two grants have been awarded to complete a synthesis of the 13 watershed projects previously funded through the CEAP competitive grants program. The goal of this synthesis is to build a knowledge base that can be used to evaluate impacts of conservation practices and programs on water resources, improve the management of agricultural landscapes to achieve environmental goals, and inform policy decisions. This is a joint effort between NIFA and NRCS.
North Carolina State University NIFA-CEAP Watershed Synthesis Study, August 2012
Steps to Citizen-based Watershed Planning: A Presentation For Watershed Planners (PPT; 15.2 MB)
Archived webcast reviewing detailed insights from the synthesis (May 15, 2012). Flyer on webcast (PDF; 0.1 MB) and PowerPoint presentation for webcast (PDF; 3.1 MB)
USDA water quality projects and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Conservation Effects Assessment Project watershed studies, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Nov-Dec 2010
CRIS summary
North Carolina
University of Idaho CRIS summary Idaho