Climate change is increasing the likelihood of more intense rains. And that raises a threat to water quality. “In general, the risk to agricultural land increases at a greater rate as precipitation amount or intensity increases,” says Craig Cox, executive director for the Soil and Water Conservation Society. This risk, in the form of soil erosion and rapid water runoff, can carry pollutants into lakes and streams impacting water quality.
Currently, decisions on which conservation practice to employ on a piece of land at any given time depends on an estimate of average climate. The Soil and Water Conservation Society has reviewed the literature and with an expert panel found that policy will need to change to protect water quality and soil resources under a changing climate.
SWCS has published a report of the panel’s recommendations. That report, “Conservation Implication of Climate Change: Soil Erosion and Runoff from Cropland,” can be downloaded as a PDF from the Society’s Web site at: http://www.swcs.org/docs/Climate%20change-final.pdf
The Ankeny, Iowa-based Soil and Water Conservation Society is a grantee of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Food and Society (FAS) initiative.