See also: Publications


The Ephemeral Gulley Erosion Model (EGEM) is a computer program that estimates the annual and single event erosion rate of a single ephemeral gully in farmland. It provides a gully that is filled in as it occurs on farm land. The model has been verified in both the United States and Europe. The model uses NRCS hydrology procedures and erosion technology developed by ARS.

Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) is an easily and widely used computer program that estimates rates of soil erosion caused by rainfall and associated overland flow. This website is the “official” USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) site for RUSLE.

The Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation 2 (RUSLE2), like RUSLE, predicts long-term, average-annual erosion by water for broad range of farming, conservation, mining, construction, and forestry uses. Its object-oriented, Windows interface allows dramatic scientific and graphical advances.

Soil Surveys furnish soil maps and interpretations needed in giving technical assistance to farmers and ranchers; in guiding other decisions about soil selection, use, and management; and in planning research and disseminating the results of the research. They are also used in educational programs about soil use and conservation. Current and out of print survey listings are also available by state.

Soils Survey Geographic (SSURGO) Field mapping methods using national standards have been used to construct the soil maps in the Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) data base by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Must register to download.

SWAT is a USDA – Agricultural Research Service computer model to predict the effect of management decisions on water, sediment, nutrients, and pesticides yields in large ungaged river basins. It utilizes SWRRBWQ technology enhanced with reach routing and capability to subdivide into more than 100 sub basins.

TR-20 is a physically based watershed scale runoff event model. It computes direct runoff and develops hydrographs resulting from any synthetic or natural rainstorm. Developed hydrographs are routed through stream and valley reaches as well as through reservoirs. Hydrographs are combined from tributaries with those on the main stream stem. Branching flow (diversions), and baseflow can also be accommodated.

TR-55 presents simplified procedures to calculate storm runoff volume, peak rate of  discharge, hydrographs, and storage volumes required for floodwater reservoirs. These procedures are applicable in small watersheds, especially urbanizing watersheds, in the United States.

Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE)   is a manual calculation procedure used to determine erosion rates at the end of a slope and provide an indication of the extent and location of sediment sources. USLE rates cannot be correlated directly with sediment delivery. Field location or proximity to streams or water bodies, land form, and runoff characteristics must be considered to determine a relative hazard of sedimentation from eroding areas. Erosion rates provide an indication of the relative amount of soil attached nutrients and pesticides that may leave a site with sediment.

Education Opportunities

Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) Project uses innovative techniques to teach local officials about the sources and impacts of nonpoint source (NPS) pollution, how different land uses affect water quality, and what towns can do to protec water quality. The unique educational approach of the project is to use geographic information system (GIS) technology to simplify and explain the complex relationship between land use to water quality.

Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) Know Your Watershed: Introduction to Water Quality. This course is designed to teach the fundamentals for reducing pollution from agricultural nonpoint sources. It is self-paced, beginning with registration and a web-based computer test. Participants receive materials including two videos, 12 modules of printed instruction, and two reference manuals. Participants have 90 days to complete the work once enrolled. The team that designed, developed, and delivered this course included: Natural Resources Conservation Service, EPA and the Utah Cooperative Extension Service.

USEPA Watershed Academy. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency focal point in the Office of Water for providing training and information on implementing watershed approaches. This training is provided to federal, state, tribal, and local officials, as well as private practitioners of watershed management. The Watershed Academy has a web-based training program, sponsors its own training courses and develops training materials; it also publicizes watershed-related training materials and web sites developed by others, including other offices in EPA’s Office of Water.

Great Lakes in My World. This curriculum kit from the Alliance for the Great Lakes offers 80 indoor and outdoor activities for k-12 students.


Water Quality Information Center. The National Agricultural Library maintains this database providing access to more than 1,800 online documents covering water and agriculture.

Dynamic Bibliography on Stream Restoration. Also maintained by the National Agricultural Library, the main bibliography is segmented by three subtopics: effects on erosion and sedimentation, effects on nitrogen, and effects on fish and wildlife.


Experimental Manipulation of Entire Watersheds through Best Management Practices (BMPs): Nutrient Fluxes, Fate, Transport and Biotic Responses – SUNY Brockport

Mitigation of soil and nutrient loss from watersheds in agriculture in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State and, in general, within the country continues to be a major issue. Because of a sense of stewardship, the demonstrated loss of nutrients and soil from their land and the effects this may be having on downstream environments, the local agricultural agencies, with cooperation and participation of local farmers, founded the “Conesus Lake Watershed Group” (CLWG) to focus attention on watershed issues important to farmers and to coordinate and foster collaboration between academic researchers, governing bodies, and the agricultural community.

Conesus Lake Watershed Project – SUNY Brockport, USDA