Watershed Evaluation of Beneficial Management Practices (WEBs) : Towards Enhanced Agricultural Landscape Planning - Four-Year Review (2004/5 - 2007/8).
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The Watershed Evaluation of Beneficial Management Practices (WEBs) project was initiated in April 2004 to assess the environmental and economic performance of selected agricultural beneficial management practices (BMPs) at seven small watersheds across Canada. Under the Agriculture Policy Framework (APF), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has been the main funding agency, with Ducks Unlimited Canada as a key funding partner. Over 40 other federal, provincial, municipal, academic and non-governmental organizations are also partners in the project. This report is a summary of the project’s first four years (April 2004 – March 2008). The need to validate the performance of selected BMPs in a watershed setting was a primary reason for initiating WEBs—with informing future policy and programming decision making as a desired end result. The costs and environmental benefits of BMPs have seldom been measured beyond small plot and field experiments. Few of these practices have been evaluated at the watershed scale where the combined effects of soils, topography and land use may significantly alter anticipated results.WEBs has contributed improved knowledge regarding the value of agricultural BMPs. It is one of the first studies in Canada to assess both the environmental and economic performance of BMPs at a watershed scale. Innovative, interdisciplinary research at the seven WEBs watershed sites is bringing us a step closer to achieving improved water quality in agricultural landscapes. WEBs also maintains a close working relationship with the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), providing a partnership for the exchange of information and lessons learned between projects having similar objectives.