Event Title

Assessing Impact of Conservation Practices on Water Quality: Evidence from Recent Fieldwork in the Little Bear River Watershed

Location

Eccles Conference Center

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu/htm/conference/past-spring-runoff-conferences

Start Date

27-3-2006 1:00 PM

End Date

27-3-2006 1:15 PM

Description

In the Little Bear River Watershed, government cost-sharing programs to improve water quality have resulted in many agricultural producers implementing "best management practices" (BMPs). Based on initial water quality data, phosphorus loadings in the Little Bear appear to have declined over the same period during which many BMPs were implemented. However, water quality data alone cannot confirm the impact of BMP's. Therefore, it is critical to examine the social aspects of the programs. Implementation and continued use of practices depends on a variety of human factors that may significantly influence the water quality improvement potential for any given practice. Such factors include the appropriateness of the practice for a given operator's circumstances, conservation interests of the producer, and perceived economic benefit to the farm operation from the practice. In order to determine how these factors may influence implementation and use of BMPs, data on when and where practices occurred is gathered from official government files, then ground-truthed in a semi-structured interview with each producer. From initial interviews, it is clear that official records do not always reflect current reality, for such reasons as lack of follow-up monitoring, poor record-keeping, internal miscoding of practices, or a lack of data in the files on associated practices that were not cost shared. As a result, producer interviews provide more information about how water quality might have been affected by practices than do official records.

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Mar 27th, 1:00 PM Mar 27th, 1:15 PM

Assessing Impact of Conservation Practices on Water Quality: Evidence from Recent Fieldwork in the Little Bear River Watershed

Eccles Conference Center

In the Little Bear River Watershed, government cost-sharing programs to improve water quality have resulted in many agricultural producers implementing "best management practices" (BMPs). Based on initial water quality data, phosphorus loadings in the Little Bear appear to have declined over the same period during which many BMPs were implemented. However, water quality data alone cannot confirm the impact of BMP's. Therefore, it is critical to examine the social aspects of the programs. Implementation and continued use of practices depends on a variety of human factors that may significantly influence the water quality improvement potential for any given practice. Such factors include the appropriateness of the practice for a given operator's circumstances, conservation interests of the producer, and perceived economic benefit to the farm operation from the practice. In order to determine how these factors may influence implementation and use of BMPs, data on when and where practices occurred is gathered from official government files, then ground-truthed in a semi-structured interview with each producer. From initial interviews, it is clear that official records do not always reflect current reality, for such reasons as lack of follow-up monitoring, poor record-keeping, internal miscoding of practices, or a lack of data in the files on associated practices that were not cost shared. As a result, producer interviews provide more information about how water quality might have been affected by practices than do official records.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2006/AllAbstracts/6