Conservation Effects Assessment Project
In 2004, the Cheney Lake Watershed was chosen as a Special Emphasis
watershed for study by USDA under the Conservation Effects Assessment
Project (CEAP). Through this program the Department of Agriculture is
studying the environmental benefits of conservation practices
implemented through 2002 Farm Bill programs: the Environmental Quality
Incentives Program, Wetlands Reserve Program, Wildlife Habitat
Incentives Program, Conservation Reserve Program, Conservation Security
Program, and Conservation Technical Assistance.
CEAP is composed of two basic parts: a nationwide assessment of
conservation benefits and more in-depth studies of these benefits in 20
selected watersheds. NRCS selected the special-emphasis watersheds to
address specific concerns such as manure management on animal feeding
operations, water use on irrigated cropland, drainage management,
wildlife habitat, and riparian restoration.
Lake Watershed was selected as a special emphasis watershed to study
benefits to Conservation Reserve Program acres, wildlife habitat, manure
management, sediment, and nutrient loss through irrigation. The Cheney
Lake Watershed was chosen for CEAP partly because of the extensive data
and computer modeling that already exist for the watershed.
These watershed studies also should help develop
performance measures for estimating soil quality, water quality, and
wildlife habitat benefits for specific conservation practices.
The additional information that will be generated
through this project will be valuable to the Cheney Lake Watershed and
to every watershed in Kansas,” said Lisa French, Project Coordinator for
Cheney Lake Watershed, Inc headquartered in South Hutchinson. “We want
to know how to focus our information and educational efforts and our
cost-share programs to achieve the greatest impact for water quality.”
“Although the primary purpose of the project is to provide USDA with an
assessment of the impact of conservation practices, our Citizen’s
Management Committee (CMC) will also look closely at the outcome,”
continued French. “The CMC is interested in understanding the function
of our watershed. They want to help their neighbors find creative ways
to protect water quality and maintain resilient farms.”
USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has been conducting research
on most of the 12 benchmark watersheds for a considerable period of time
and anticipates that watershed-scale research and assessments will be
continued over many years.
2006, Kansas State University also received a CEAP grant to study
conservation practices in Cheney Lake Watershed. A team of Kansas State
University engineers, agronomists, sociologists and economists are
working in partnership with watershed producers and the Citizen’s
Management Committee through 2011. “This research will help determine
the water quality benefits, economic impacts, and social aspects of
conservation implementation,” said Nathan Nelson, principal investigator
on the project. Water quality data from Goose Creek and Red Rock Creek
will be analyzed to determine the effects of current conservation
practices, said Nelson, who is a soil scientist with K-State Research
and Extension. The results will be compared with water quality
improvements predicted by computer models simulating strategic
conservation practice implementation.
The project uses field monitoring, computer modeling,
producer interviews, and historical data to answer three questions: 1)
how do the timing, location, and array of conservation practices affect
water quality at the watershed scale; 2) How do social and economic
factors affect conservation practice implementation; and 3) What is the
optimal placement and suite of conservation practices for this
The KSU study complements the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
study of the watershed funded by USDA/CEAP.
Other K-State researchers on the project include
biological and agricultural engineers Kyle Mankin and Phil Barnes,
agricultural economist Michael Langemeier, agronomists Dan Devlin and
Nathan Nelson, and sociologist Theresa Selfa.
Additional information about CEAP can be obtained at
the NRCS CEAP page.
Cheney Lake Streambank Erosion Report
Gully Erosion Report
Conservation Practice Implementation History and Trends (KSU pub)
Assessing the Impact of Implementing Conservation Practices in the
Cheney Lake Watershed (KSU pub)