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Rocky Mountain Research Station Air, Water, & Aquatic Environments Program

    The Air, Water, and Aquatic Environments (AWAE) research program is one of eight Science Program areas within the Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS). Our science develops core knowledge, methods, and technologies that enable effective watershed management in forests and grasslands, sustain biodiversity, and maintain healthy watershed conditions.

    NLET - National Load Estimating Tool

      NLET (National Load Estimating Tool) is a web-based tool for estimating pollutant loads in watersheds across the contiguous United States. This tool helps visualize the effects of land use patterns, cultivated crops, and conservation practices through graphical representation.

      NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program - Prairie Grasslands Region

        One of the most threatened ecosystems in North America, native prairie and grasslands contained within the Prairie Grasslands Region are essential habitat for a number of wild game and threatened species, including the lesser prairie chicken and sage grouse. The region also encompasses the Red River Basin of the North and the Ogallala Aquifer—areas that are facing critical conservation needs on working lands from frequent flooding and ponding (in the north) to prolonged drought and aquifer decline (in the Ogallala). This dataset includes a printer-friendly CCA map and shapefiles for GIS.

        NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program - Columbia River Basin

          The Columbia River Basin provides habitat for salmon and steelhead, essential components of a healthy ecosystem and critical to Indian tribes and local communities. Loss of quality habitat because of pressures from population growth threaten fish numbers and the overall health of the basin. With this Critical Conservation Area designation, USDA will build on existing strong partnerships in the basin to work with agricultural producers to improve water quality and quantity in order to restore critical components of salmon habitat, aid in the recovery of Pacific salmon, and protect public health and the environment while maintaining a strong agricultural sector. The boundary of the CCA is a portion of the Columbia River Basin that includes essential fish habitat. This dataset includes a printer-friendly CCA map and shapefiles for GIS.

          NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program - Colorado River Basin

            Irrigated agriculture is vitally important to the economy and quality of life in many areas of the Colorado River Basin. It also accounts for a significant share of the basin’s existing water use, shared among 33 million people in the United States plus 3 million in Mexico. Faced with historic drought conditions and water supply pressures, farmers, ranchers, Indian tribes and other water users are in urgent need of accelerated conservation on working agricultural lands. This dataset includes a printer-friendly CCA map and shapefiles for GIS.

            NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program - Mississippi River Basin

              The Mississippi River is North America’s largest river, flowing over 2,300 miles through America’s heartland to the Gulf of Mexico. The watershed not only provides drinking water, food, industry, and recreation for millions of people, it also hosts a globally significant migratory flyway and home for over 325 bird species. This dataset includes a printer-friendly CCA map and shapefiles for GIS.

              NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program - RCPP Critical Conservation Areas

                Critical Conservation Areas (CCAs) are designated by the Secretary of Agriculture and represent an opportunity for many stakeholders to come together at a regional level to address common natural resource goals while maintaining or improving agricultural productivity. Partners, working closely with producers and communities, define and propose projects that will achieve regional natural resource goals while also meeting complementary local conservation priorities.

                NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program - Great Lakes Region

                  America’s Great Lakes — Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario — hold 21 percent of the world’s surface fresh water and host habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species of concern. They provide drinking water for more than 40 million people and economic benefits from fishing and recreation. The Great Lakes Region is also a major agricultural area, with more than 55 million acres of land under production. This dataset includes a printer-friendly CCA map and shapefiles for GIS.

                  NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program - Chesapeake Bay Watershed

                    The largest estuary in North America, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed covers 64,000 square miles and includes more than 150 rivers and streams that drain into the Bay. More than 300 species of fish, shellfish and crab species and a wide array of other wildlife call the Bay home. With almost 30 percent of area in agricultural production, the region’s over 83,000 farms generate more than $10 billion annually. This dataset includes a printer-friendly CCA map and shapefiles for GIS.