• Using Science to Bridge Management and Policy: Terracette Hydrologic Function and Water Quality Best Management Practices in Idaho

      Corrao, Mark V.; Cosens, Barbara E.; Heinse, Robert; Eitel, Jan U. H.; Link, Timothy E. (Society for Range Management, 2015-12-01)
      On The Ground • Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution is a leading cause of water quality degradation on 40% of the semiarid lands within the western United States, with sediment from runoff on agricultural lands making up 15%. • Managing NPS pollution through best management practices (BMPs) relies on site-specific knowledge and voluntary application. • The dominant hydrologic processes in semiarid environments are a product of local climate, vegetation, and soil conditions; therefore, land use and ecosystem resilience invariably hinge on a balance of shifting, and often competing, social and environmental drivers. • Our measurements of terracette hydrologic function and existence on more than 159,000 hectares within Idaho enabled an estimate of potential NPS erosion and sediment generation, emphasizing the value of site-specific scientific research for land managers. • Our study provides an example of how microtopographic landforms, such as terracettes, are connected with state and federal clean water policy as one example of how interdisciplinary research can have far-reaching application.