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Water Quality Index for Agricultural Runoff Tool

The Water Quality Index for Runoff from Agricultural Fields (WQIag) is a qualitative, multivariate tool that characterizes the quality of water exiting as surface runoff at the field scale. It is simple, transparent and easy-to-use web-based system.  In combination with the published literature, the WQIag captures heuristic knowledge of different disciplinary experts such as soil scientists, agronomists, nutrient management specialists, and irrigation specialists and conservationists. Based upon the field characteristics, crop management practices (nutrient, tillage, pest control, irrigation and drainage) and structural practices; it ranks runoff water from 1 to 10 where 10 being the best and 1 being the worst. The presentation will provide an overview of the tool with a demo and discuss how it can be used by NRCS field staff and others in evaluating and tracking effectiveness of conservation practices in improving water quality over time and space. 

An application for continuing education credit for Certified Crop Advisors (CCAs) and members of the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS) has been submitted.

Presenters include:
  • Harbans Lal, USDA-NRCS
  • Brooks Engelhardt, USDA-NRCS
  • Joe Harrison (Moderator), Washington State University
Find out more about this webcast and future webcasts by the Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center (LPELC).

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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