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Alicia O'Hare

Sep 17, 2020, 12:08:57 PM9/17/20
to ACPF Forum
Hello All, 
I was just wondering if anyone has any strategies or output maps they found particularly useful after running this model? (i.e. how did you narrow down which practices to run?)

Also just curious if anyone has any suggestions for how they estimated nutrient load reductions. 


matthew romanko

Sep 21, 2020, 6:05:23 PM9/21/20
to ACPF Forum,
Hi Alicia, 

I have been considering the same questions you have. I think the best strategy may be to consider what is the end use going to be? For me, I would like to use these to promote different possible conservation strategies across NW Ohio. So, I have been running all of the tools that are applicable to the region and putting them all into a web app using AGOL. This is a nice solution because it allows users to interactively zoom to different locations and turn on layers of interest. It is pretty easy to get up and running and the end user doesn't need GIS software. I have also been considering the story map functionality in AGOL as more of a guided tour of options. If you know you are interested in a certain practice or geographic location, making traditional static maps may be easier. Maybe you could just make one map per practice. 

As for estimating nutrient load reductions, I am not familiar with a solid product but I know some folks have been looking at incorporating SWAT or NTT modeling.

I would love to hear any other thoughts as well! Hope this helps.



Sep 22, 2020, 7:32:55 AM9/22/20
to matthew romanko, ACPF Forum,
Hi all,
We are just barely gearing up for ACPF in Vermont, so I don’t have any experience to offer there.  I can say that we spent many days over 5 or 6 years developing a way to account for P reductions by (as an interagency group, lots of state agency people since the reductions are their responsibility, not NRCS’s) deciding a realistic, supportable percentage that each practice would reduce from runoff or leachate.  This process was adapted to our climate and soils from what the Chesapeake Bay Program did, good work to read up on for those interested.  We leaned heavily on the IDEA practice reports/shapefiles that NRCS produced regularly from all the inputs from Toolkit (CST) users in our field offices.  It’s a bear of a procedure, but the best we could accomplish that was supportable for the state’s obligations to EPA.  Many Lake Champlain watersheds need drastic reductions, a lot like the Western Lake Erie Basin, Matthew.

Reed Sims
retired NRCS GIS 


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Ann Marcelle Lewandowski

Sep 22, 2020, 11:39:33 AM9/22/20
to Anne Nardi, ACPF Forum,
Alicia and others,

The ACPF education team has presented three workshops (In IA, MN, and WI) on Applications of the ACPF, where we discuss how to use the outputs in watershed planning and implementation. We will soon be adding links to some of the recordings of the Wisconsin workshop to the training page at In the meantime, you could watch the overview webinars produced for the Minnesota or Wisconsin workshops, which describe general ways to use the  ACPF. Or read through some of the "examples of ACPF in use" which are available in the ACPF resource library.

Which tools you run and which maps you produce depends on when you use it during the planning process, what water resource issues are of concern, and which practices are more relevant in your (social and physical) landscape. For example, if you are early in  watershed planning, you might focus on the maps of the stream network, runoff risk, SPI, drainage, and depressions to help planners clarify watershed hydrology, and begin to identify critical source areas and concerns. To prepare for a public meeting of stakeholders, you might produce maps of all the conservation practices to show the group which practices are more or less relevant in your watershed and discuss why to focus on some and not others. Before meeting with landowners, field staff may want to study maps of critical areas or practice opportunities so they have an idea where to focus their conversations. The bottom line is to work with the rest of your staff to understand how it can support their work.

Contact me if you'd like to talk more about ways to use ACPF in Wright County.


Ann Marcelle Lewandowski
University of Minnesota Water Resources Center
1985 Buford Ave., Room 173
St. Paul, MN 55108

Jessica Nelson

Sep 22, 2020, 2:57:26 PM9/22/20
to ACPF Forum, alewand, ACPF Forum,, Anne Nardi
Fun question Alicia! There are many ways to skin this cat, and I will echo what many of the commenters already stated. Basically there is no clean, cookie cutter way to do this. Marcelle has already compiled a lot of good case studies that could be good inspiration. I will just share some of my general thoughts and touchstones out there in the world (mostly Minnesota experience)...

Re: Developing strategies
These are a few questions I think people should ask themselves while shaping their strategies (probably nothing new to you):
-What are my resource concerns (i.e. erosion, nutrients, water quantity, habitat, feedlots, etc.)
-Where are we trying to manage runoff and pollutants (in-field, edge-of-field)
-Are there funding program(s) that has specific BMPs and design specs that you want to prioritize?
-Is there some existing landowner interest, or areas where you know you aren't going to get anything done in the near future?
-Are there other modeling tools available to help narrow down which opportunities sited potentially have the most bang for their buck? (i.e. RUSLEII, EVAAL, WEPP, water storage calculators, cost estimators) (ex. Using RUSLE2 from one of your Metro neighbors to the south:
-Am I taking this on in bite-size pieces? What are some existing initiatives or meetings that you could tag on to? It is kind of overwhelming to see all the outputs and figure out how to prioritize. I would say doing this in bite size pieces and focusing in on practices you are familiar with for your landscape is a good start.

I have seen staff use these outputs, intersect the field boundaries with the stream layer and send out a mailer to landowners within a buffered distance of the stream asking to talk to them about riparian management issues and water quantity. They didn't get a ton of call backs, but a few people reached out and they were able to improve some buffers and interest in sediment basins. This was a good communication strategy.

Another neat case study is to tag on to existing drainage management meetings. They coordinated with the drainage authority when a ditch system was up for improvement, repairs, cleaning, etc., and presented the results of the ACPF to the landowners as alternatives to traditional ways of improving the drainage system. They got someone seriously interested in a large wetland creation along the drainage system.

RE: Nutrient runoff reductions 
The Iowa Soybean Association has some good watershed plan examples, and provides some information on quick ways to quantify nutrient load reductions. I always gravitate towards the Lime Creek Watershed Plan ( One thing to note is that they have conducted baseline watershed monitoring in their HUC12's so the calculations have that included in their plans. I don't know what level of detail your team has for this, but just wanted to throw a touchstone I like to refer to when I am thinking about how this could look. There are projects out there to try and make developing effective watershed plans more straightforward and comprehensive using these various tools, but for right now this is the best of what I have to share.

Hope this is helpful :) Thank you for asking this question! It is a good one and gets the blood flowing to the brain!

-Jessica Nelson
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