First Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the USDA ARS Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed

USDA Agricultural Research Service

Bureau of Land Management

Environmental Protection Agency

United States Forest Service

U.S. Geological Survey

Natural Resources Conservation Service

Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science


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Benson, AZ, 27-30 October 2003


View the  ICRW Program: Word Format PDF Format


Proceedings of the First ICRW, 27-30 October 2003, Benson, AZ

hosted by USDA ARS Southwest Watershed Research Center at the Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed


Proceedings of the Second ICRW, 16-18 May 2006, Otto, NC

hosted by USDA FS Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory at the Coweeta Experimental Forest


Proceedings of the Third ICRW, 8-11 September 2008, Estes Park, CO

hosted by the USGS at the Loch Vale Watershed, Rocky Mountain National Park



Watersheds are the primary planning unit being used for resource management, as well as the natural unit for research studies on surface water hydrology and water quality.  The First Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds (ICRW) was conceived by a group of federal agencies (ARS, USGS, USFS, BLM, EPA, NRCS and NSF) to bring together researchers working at the watershed scale and stakeholders working on watersheds to bridge the gap between the two groups.  The intent was to have researchers present what they are doing now, what more they could do, and how the research is being applied for management purposes.  In turn, the watershed stakeholders would articulate how current research is helping them and the additional steps that are needed to help them make better decisions about managing their watersheds.  The meeting organizers specifically designed this conference to be a one-stop shopping point for stakeholders to get a comprehensive overview of watershed research by all of the major federal agencies conducting watershed research.


To achieve these goals, the format of ICRW was unique.  First, the conference was located at a small facility within the San Pedro River Watershed in the town of Benson Arizona.  All meals were catered on site to encourage informal interaction between researchers and stakeholders.  Second, the first plenary session consisted of invited speakers from federal agencies to review their watershed research programs and from the Upper San Pedro Partnership to present an example of research scientists and decision makers working together.  This set the stage for the nearly 150 volunteered presentations of research on watershed-scale topics such as hydrology, erosion, water quality, economics, instrumentation, ecology, sociology, remote sensing and fire.  Third, the ICRW was scheduled to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the renowned USDA ARS Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed (WGEW) near Tombstone Arizona.  To celebrate 50 years of research at this experimental watershed, a half-day field tour and evening BBQ at the watershed were scheduled.


The ICRW proceedings begins with six invited papers describing the current and future watershed research programs of ARS, USGS, USFS, BLM, EPA and CUAHSI.  Following these, the proceedings provide an overview of watershed research organized by the topics of erosion, hydrology, watershed modeling, watershed networks and data management, water quality and quantity, ecology, integrated management and integrating science with watershed decision making.


The organizing committee would like to express gratitude to BLM, ARS and EPA for their financial support, and to ARS for publishing the proceedings.  We also express appreciation to all the presenters who contributed to these proceedings and to all participants who made the conference a success.  Plans are underway to hold the Second Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds in 2005 at the USDA Forest Service Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory in Otto, North Carolina.  Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory was formally established in 1934 and represents one of the longest continuous environmental studies on any landscape in North America.  The chair of the Second ICRW organizing committee will be Jim Vose; his email is


 ICRW Contacts:  Information is available at or you can contact any members of the ICRW Program Committee.


Susan Moran, David Goodrich or Phil Heilman, USDA ARS Southwest Watershed Research Center

Moran: tel: 520-670-6380 X171;

Goodrich: tel: 520-670-6380 X144;

Heilman: tel: 520-670-6380 X148;



Bil Gburek, USDA ARS - Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research

tel: 814-863-8759;


Walter Rawls, USDA ARS - Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

tel: 301-504-8745;


Beau McClure, Bureau of Land Management

Bill Kepner or Lee Mulkey, Environmental Protection Agency

George Leavesley, U.S. Geological Survey

Marshall Moss, Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc.

Doug Ryan, U.S. Forest Service

Jon Werner, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Southwest Watershed Research Center
Tucson, Arizona

Last Modified 3/29/2004