The professional development workshops held in conjunction with the SWCS Annual Conference will be eligible for continuing education credits from various certifying organizations. A PDF of the technical and leadership workshop descriptions is available.

Workshop 1: Introduction to Green Infrastructure: Principles, Applications, and Policies
Sunday, July 28
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Instructors: Rohan Lilauwala, Green Infrastructure Foundation; Steven Peck, Green Infrastructure Foundation; Blaine Stand, Green Infrastructure Foundation

Green infrastructure remains largely underutilized by governments as a proven means to achieve multiple objectives. This presentation was developed to describe green infrastructure, identify its many environmental, social, and economic benefits, and provide examples of best practices and policies, applications, and programs that support its implementation. There are several learning objectives: to review and understand the different elements of green infrastructure, to introduce scientific research on performance benefits, and to provide examples of current policies.  A key workshop goal is to enable decision makers and local, state, and provincial governments to support communities, private developers, affordable housing advocates, and other stakeholders to create a built environment that is more economically, ecologically, and socially sustainable using living green infrastructure.

Tickets: $150 early/$175 late (after June 19)


Workshop 2: Nutrient Tracking Tool (NTT): A Farm Decision-Making Tool for Water Quality/Quantity Assessment and Trading Programs and a New Interface for APEX Model
Sunday, July 28
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Instructors: Ali Saleh, Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research, Tarleton State University; Mindy Selman, USDA Office of Environmental Markets

The Nutrient Tracking Tool (NTT) is a user-friendly web-based program developed by Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research (TIAER) staff in collaboration with United States Department of Agriculture.

NTT estimates nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), sediment losses, and crop yield from fields (or small watersheds) managed under a variety of cropping patterns and management practices through its linkage to the Agricultural Policy Environmental eXtender (APEX). It also accesses USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Web Soil Survey (or user input) and PRISM soil, and weather information. NTT provides producers, government officials, and other users with a fast, efficient, and common method of estimating the nitrogen and phosphorus credits generated from implemented Best Management Practices (BMPs) at the field and small watershed levels. The generated credit can be used for water quality/quantity trading, as well as other water quality and quantity programs. In addition, a new version of NTT (NTT-RE) is designed for researches and educators and provides an easy-to-use interface to access the APEX files and program. The information obtained from the tool can help producers to determine the most cost-effective conservation practice alternatives for their individual operations and provide them with more advantageous options to reduce the water contaminant while optimizing their crop production. During this workshop the two versions of NTT and its latest capabilities will be described and demonstrated. This workshop is recommended for everyone, including producers, researchers, educators, government employees, and NGO staff.

Tickets: $70 early/$95 late (after June 19)


Workshop 3: Turning Soils Data into Information: SSURGO OnDemand—Quicker, Easier, Faster
Sunday, July 28
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Instructors: Chad Ferguson, USDA NRCS; Jason Nemecek, USDA NRCS

Much of the information collected by Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) soil scientists over the past 100+ years of the National Cooperative Soil Survey is stored in the National Soils Information System (NASIS). The Soil Survey Geographic Database (SSURGO) was developed as the vehicle to deliver soils information from NASIS to users. Even for experienced users, the SSURGO data model can be overwhelming, with almost 100 data tables and 130 relationships. Soil Data Viewer was the original tool available for users to untangle the web of tables and relationships into useful information. While still very functional, Soil Data Viewer has significant limitations. Recently, NRCS Soil and Plant Science Division employees have developed a surrogate Geographic Information System tool to Soil Data Viewer, SSURGO OnDemand. These tools use NRCS web-based services to drastically improve the process, speed, and extent for turning SSURGO data into what users want: soil properties and interpretations. This workshop will guide users through the fundamentals of the SSURGO data model and demonstrate the utility of SSURGO OnDemand in natural resource planning.

Tickets: $70 early/$95 late (after June 19)