Agricultural conservation planning framework: Watershed applications, research opportunities, and training resources

A. M. Lewandowski, M. D. Tomer, J. I. Buchanan, A. Kiel, L. Olson, R. L. Power, J. J. Sloan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) is an approach to precision conservation for agricultural watershed planning, which is supported by high-resolution watershed data providing spatial detail on land use, soil survey, and topography, which, in turn, are analyzed using an ArcGIS toolbox to identify conservation practice placement options for water quality improvement. A variety of conservation practice placements are identified by the software and can be presented as planning options to engage farmers and watershed stakeholders in local conservation efforts. This special section comprises three research articles, two features, a research editorial, and this overview article. These papers describe new features in ACPF version 3, released in late 2018, describe research from multiwatershed ACPF analyses, discuss watershed planning approaches that have utilized the ACPF, and evaluate farmer perceptions of ACPF results for their farms. This overview article describes the history and development of the ACPF, its role in a watershed approach to agricultural conservation, training and support for the ACPF, and future challenges anticipated as the ACPF is trialed outside the upper Midwest. Several watershed case studies are presented that were part of a symposium during the Soil and Water Conservation Society Annual Conference in 2017. The ACPF was developed by the USDA Agricultural Research Service with support from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, is in the public domain, and is available, along with support and training resources, through Broader adaptation in using the ACPF as a platform for watershed planning, modeling, and research is encouraged.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-433
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Soil and Water Conservation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Development of the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework was supported by a USDA interagency agreement between the Agricultural Research Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 Soil and Water Conservation Society. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Conservation planning
  • Decision support tools
  • Precision conservation
  • Watershed analysis


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