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2007 Soil and Water Conservation Society - Soil Quality Workshop

"Soil Quality: the Foundation for Natural Resource Quality

The Conservation Effects Assessment Project and Soil Quality

M. Lee Norfleet

The CEAP cropland assessment is innovative for a national study of crop management and environmental outcomes in two major ways. First, the study is based on a sample of individual assessments performed on specific farm fields with actual reported management practices. Second, the study uses a linked system of field and watershed scale simulation models to simultaneously estimate the impacts of change in the use of conservation practices on environmental measures such as within-field soil carbon content and down-stream water body nitrate concentration. This provides for the first time the ability to assess the impacts of production and conservation practices on soil quality at a national scale.

The CEAP project relies on the APEX and SWAT model technologies. Development of APEX began in 1996 but it is based on state-of-the-art technology taken from several mature and well tested models. The EPIC model is essentially embedded in APEX to form the core. EPIC was developed in the early 1980’s and has been tested and applied in many countries throughout the world. Major concepts and components from other well known and widely used and accepted models have been added to APEX as part of the development. These models include such well known acronyms as CENTURY, CREAMS, GLEAMS, RUSLE, TR-55, and WEQ. The output from these models allow for the assessment of primary soil functions such as nutrient cycling, buffering, water cycling, and productivity and potentially the development of a soil quality indices for national assessments.

Lee Norfleet - Lee Norfleet is a native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky. He received his BS from Murray State University, MS from Clemson University, and PhD from the University of Kentucky. Lee began working with NCRS mapping soils in South Carolina. Lee served on the Soil Quality Institute for its full life and currently works on the NRCS Resources Inventory and Assessment Division staff working with the Conservation Effects Assessment Project national assessment.