Watershed Conservation Screening Tool
What it does: This tool will quickly measure the potential for five common watershed conservation activities to reduce sediment and nutrient pollution in a source watershed.
Values returned: This tool will describe for each source watershed its land cover and estimate its pollutant loading. It will also return for each watershed the amount of conservation effort (in area or cost) needed to achieve a 1%, 5%, 10%, and 20% reduction in pollution.
Surface water only: This tool is intended for bulk surface water users that know the location of their water intakes. Groundwater sustainability is not analyzed.
Non-point source pollution only: This tool focuses on how watershed conservation activity can reduce sediment and nutrient pollution from non-point sources. Watersheds that have significant sources of pollution from point sources may not find the results returned meaningful.
Municipal water users: Water users that draw water from a municipal supply must know where that municipal water supply comes from. Users can look up this information for some large cities in the Urban Water Blueprint. If your city isn’t listed there, but you know where you city gets its water from, then you can should enter that information yourself.
Inter-basin transfers: If a larger inter-basin transfer of water into your watershed occurs upstream of your water intake, you must input into the tool both the location of your intake and the location of where the transferred water comes from (the donor basin).
More info: If this is your first time using the Screening Tool, please watch our short briefing video about the tool here. Next, watch our video walkthrough of how to use the tool here. If you want more details on the methodology of the app, please click here.
This tool was developed by staff at The Nature Conservancy, in collaboration with staff at the Natural Capital project. It is part of the research conducted by the Urban Water Security Working Group supported by SNAP: Science for Nature and People, a partnership of The Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS).
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This screening tool determines which source watersheds could be most helped by conservation, and which strategies could most increase water quality. If conservation looks like a useful strategy in your source watershed, we encourage you to take the next step.
Examples of watershed conservation- Some good examples of watershed conservation in action can be found in the Urban Water Blueprint. The bibliography of this report also lists dozens of other publications about watershed conservation and water quality.
Detailed planning tools- Often, a more detailed hydrologic model is needed to plan specific conservation actions within a source watershed, such as SWAT or InVEST. A useful framework for designing the optimal conservation plan for a watershed is the RIOS tool.
Questions- If you have questions about this screening tool, or about source watershed conservation in general, feel free to email The Nature Conservancy. We are not able to consult with most bulk water users, but we will try to answer questions as best as we can.
The Nature Conservancy compiles information on where water utilities and industry get their water for scientific purposes. For instance, we mapped where 534 of the biggest cities get their water from for our Urban Water Blueprint project.
We would very much appreciate it if you would share where your institution gets water from. All data will be used for scientific, non-commercial purposes. If you are willing to share data, just:
1. Create a water report for your intakes, and download the shapefile.
2. Email The Nature Conservancy, and attach the shapefile.
It looks like you CSV file has 23 locations (our maximum is 20). Hit Proceed to view your first 20 locations, or hit close to add a different CSV file.
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