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The National Wind Erosion Research Network: Building a standardized long-term data resource for aeolian research, modeling and land management

Nicholas Webb, Jeffrey Herrick, Justin Van Zee, Ericha Courtright, Brad Cooper, Valerie LaPlante
USDA-ARS Jornada Experimental Range, Las Cruces, USA

The National Wind Erosion Research Network was established in 2014 as a collaborative effort led by the USDA Agricultural Research Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, and USDI Bureau of Land Management, to address the need for a broad and coordinated research program to develop wind erosion research and management in the United States. The National Wind Erosion Research Network has three general aims: 1) provide data to support understanding of basic aeolian processes across land use and land cover types and for different management practices, 2) support the development and application of models to assess wind erosion and dust emission and their impacts on human and environmental systems, and 3) encourage collaboration between the aeolian research community and land management agencies to increase the impact of aeolian research for the wider community. By applying standardized methods, the Network will overcome the common challenge of synthesizing independent studies to assess local-to-national scale wind erosion and dust emission and their impacts. Twelve intensively instrumented Network sites will be operational in 2016, providing high-resolution measurements of aeolian sediment transport rates, meteorological conditions and soil and vegetation properties that influence dust emission, transport and deposition. These initial sites are located across the rangelands, croplands and deserts of New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah, North Dakota, Idaho and Washington. In support of Network activities, winderosionnetwork.org was developed to serve as a data portal and access to online information about the National Wind Erosion Research Network, including site descriptions, measurement protocols and results. The website provides a comprehensive resource for scientists and managers interested in collaborating with the Network and accessing Network data products. The Network provides exciting opportunities to engage in a national long-term wind erosion research program that promises significant impact for our understanding and ability to predict and evaluate aeolian processes across land cover types and land use systems.