Decision Support Tools are being developed at the Southwest Watershed
Research Center to:
- Improve the science used in natural resource decision making.
- Develop integrated information systems that combine decision
tools, databases, models and expert opinion for improved management
of both Midwestern cropland and semiarid watersheds.
- Continue and enhance transfer of knowledge and technology to
stakeholders, decision-makers and the public.
Our work focuses on the implementation of a web application that
will facilitate the decision making process for producers and soil
conservationists in the midwest.
The CPSS has been designed to satisfy the following:
- To facilitate the decision making process for producers by incorporating
information on sustainability, offsite effects, and profitability.
- To support the NRCS
Conservation Planning Process by automation and providing
tools to help soil conservationists explain how management changes
affect the natural system's production, sustainability, and water
Here is a summary of the NRCS Conservation Planning Process:
Phase I - Collection and Analysis (Understanding
the Problems and Opportunities)
- Identify Problems and Opportunities
- Determine Objectives
- Inventory Resources
- Analyze Resource Data
Phase II - Decision Support (Understanding
- Formulate Alternatives
- Evaluate Alternatives
- Make Decisions
Phase III - Application and Evaluation (Understanding
- Implement the Plan
- Evaluate the Plan
Current efforts are focused on building a prototype of a CPSS
that could address water quality issues in Midwestern agriculture.
The focus of the effort is a water quality dataset from Iowa State
University’s Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm near Nashua,
Iowa. Among other measurements, the dataset includes corn and soybean
yields and nitrogen in tile drainage from 36 1-acre sized research
plots. To understand the processes controlling crop growth and the
nitrogen cycle, the Root Zone Water Quality Model (RZWQM) is being
applied to simulate the dataset by Liwang Ma of the Great Plains
Systems Research Unit in Fort Collins, Colorado and Robert Malone
of the National Soil Tilth Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. Weather and
management effects can be assessed by the model to understand the
tradeoffs between farm income and nitrogen entering surface waters
that ultimately affect hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. RZWQM is also
being used to compare management systems given the same long-term
climate inputs and management systems that have not been addressed
in the Nashua experiments.
Some of the collaborators that we are working with include:
Soil Tilth Laboratory
- Great Plains Systems Research
- Natural Resources Conservation Service ITC
and the NRCS in Iowa
Department of Natural Resources and Mines (Coastal)
- DESIRE - Harmonised Information System
We are also working on a Spatial Decision Support System to support
decision making on small rangeland watersheds.
Access to SDSS