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Characterization and Placement of Wetlands for Integrated Conservation Practice Planning

H. G. Momm, R. L. Bingner, Y. Yuan, J. Kostel, J. J. Monchak, M. A. Locke, A. Gilley
Transactions of the ASABE 2016 v.59 no.5 pp. 1345-1357
AGNPS model, USDA, agricultural watersheds, conservation practices, constructed wetlands, cost effectiveness, credit, crop production, cropland, filter strips, geographic information systems, nonpoint source pollution, nutrients, planning, pollution load, sediments, support systems, surface water, water quality, watershed management, United States
Constructed wetlands have been recognized as an efficient and cost-effective conservation practice to protect water quality through reducing the transport of sediments and nutrients from upstream croplands to downstream water bodies. The challenge resides in targeting the strategic location of wetlands within agricultural watersheds to maximize the reduction in nutrient loads while minimizing their impact on crop production. Furthermore, agricultural watersheds involve complex interrelated processes requiring a systems approach to evaluate the inherent relationships between wetlands and multiple sediment/nutrient sources (sheet, rill, ephemeral gully, channels) and other conservation practices (filter strips). This study describes new capabilities of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Annualized Agricultural Non-Point Source pollutant loading model, AnnAGNPS. A developed AnnAGNPS GIS-based wetland component, AgWet, is introduced to identify potential sites and characterize individual constructed or natural wetlands at a watershed scale. AgWet provides a simplified, semi-automated, and spatially distributed approach to quantitatively evaluate wetlands as potential conservation management alternatives. AgWet is integrated with other AnnAGNPS components providing seamless capabilities of estimating the potential sediment/nutrient reduction of individual wetlands. This technology provides conservationists the capability for improved management of watershed systems and support for nutrient credit trading programs.