Date of Graduation

Fall 2020


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Toby Dogwiler


Agriculture is the most significant contributor of nonpoint source pollutants in US waterways, with sediment being the most prevalent cause of impairments. Sediment loss mitigation occurs through Best Management Practices (BMPs), such as grassed waterways. Federal and state agencies incentivize the implementation of BMPs through cost-share programs for farmers. The investment of public funds has increased pressure to demonstrate the effectiveness and value of individual projects, necessitating the development of strategies for prioritizing projects based on the sensitivity of sites to sediment erosion and optimal locations for implementation. This study has three primary objectives: (i) document existing locations of grassed waterways, (ii) identify appropriate potential locations for grassed waterways, and (iii) locate critical source areas of sediment erosion in Bridge Creek watershed in southeastern Minnesota. This study uses the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) toolset to model appropriate locations for grassed waterways and the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to calculate sediment yield throughout the watersheds. The results show that over 80% of erosion occurring in the Bridge Creek watershed is attributed to seventeen critical source areas. The outputs assist in prioritization based on sensitivity to sediment erosion and undeveloped locations for grassed waterways in eleven locations. Results from this study aid in assessing whether the combination of the two models produces a viable prioritization framework and if the process is applicable for watershed management decisions in other locations.


grassed waterway, best management practice, ACPF, SWAT, sediment erosion, critical source area, soil conservation

Subject Categories

Environmental Engineering | Geology | Hydraulic Engineering | Hydrology | Natural Resources and Conservation | Water Resource Management


© Kirsten Schaefer

Open Access