Locating Existing Best Management Practices Within a Watershed: The Value of Multiple Methods


  • Paper No. JAWRA-12-0035-P of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA). Received February 15, 2012; accepted January 17, 2013. © 2013 American Water Resources Association. Discussions are open until six months from print publication.


There is an increasing need to document the impacts of conservation-related best management practices (BMPs) on water quality within a watershed. However, this impact analysis depends upon accurate geospatial locations of existing practices, which are difficult to obtain. This study demonstrates and evaluates three different methods for obtaining geospatial information for BMPs. This study was focused on the Eagle Creek Watershed, a mixed use watershed in central Indiana. We obtained geospatial information for BMPs through government records, producer interviews, and remote-sensing aerial photo interpretation. Aerial photos were also used to validate the government records and producer interviews. This study shows the variation in results obtained from the three sources of information as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each method. Using only one method for obtaining BMP information can be incomplete, and this study demonstrates how multiple methods can be used for the most accurate picture.