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Enhancing NASA’s Coastal On-line Assessment and Synthesis Tool as a visual interface for model-based assessments

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  2010 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 20 - June 23, 2010  1009384.(doi:10.13031/2013.29866)
Authors:   Margaret W Gitau, Katherine A Milla, Del Bottcher, Richard B Brown, Sunil Pancholy
Keywords:   Watershed Assessment Model, WAM, COAST, decision support, Best Management Practices, BMPs, agricultural management, visual interface.

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Office of Agricultural Water Policy (OAWP) is implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs) in watersheds around Florida to address nutrient issues. OAWP is charged with administering the agricultural BMP program, which includes adopting and overseeing the implementation of BMPs for traditional agriculture. Implementation of BMPs can reduce inputs of agricultural nutrients to surface waters that empty into the Gulf of Mexico. Because adoption of BMPs is voluntary, it is crucial that FDACS personnel be equipped with tools that can effectively communicate the benefits of BMPs to producers and can assist in selecting the BMPs appropriate for site-specific conditions. In this study, we develop a visual integration tool within NASAs Coastal On-line Assessment and Synthesis Tool (COAST) to assist end users in the selection of appropriate BMPs for agricultural producers. The tool is intended to be used by the end user (FDACS OAWP) in collaboration with agricultural producers to analyze Watershed Assessment Model (WAM) inputs and display model outputs. The WAM model is a GIS-based model that assesses the water quality and quantity responses to land use management practices within watersheds; COAST was created and is in ongoing development at NASAs Stennis Space Center (SSC) for use in integrating previously disparate coastal data sets from NASA and other sources into a common desktop tool that will provide insightful new data visualization and analysis capabilities for the coastal researcher. The site location for this pilot project is the Lower Suwannee River Basin in Central Florida, a watershed that has experienced large inputs of nutrients from agricultural activities. The products of this study can be adapted for different geographic regions that contribute nutrient inputs to the Gulf of Mexico.

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