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Scientific Investigations Report 2014-5039

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation and Bureau of Land Management

Development of a Regionally Consistent Geospatial Dataset of Agricultural Lands in the Upper Colorado River Basin, 2007–10

By Susan G. Buto, Brittany L. Gold, and Kimberly A. Jones

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (2.9 MB)Abstract

Irrigation in arid environments can alter the natural rate at which salts are dissolved and transported to streams. Irrigated agricultural lands are the major anthropogenic source of dissolved solids in the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB). Understanding the location, spatial distribution, and irrigation status of agricultural lands and the method used to deliver water to agricultural lands are important to help improve the understanding of agriculturally derived dissolved-solids loading to surface water in the UCRB. Irrigation status is the presence or absence of irrigation on an agricultural field during the selected growing season or seasons. Irrigation method is the system used to irrigate a field. Irrigation method can broadly be grouped into sprinkler or flood methods, although other techniques such as drip irrigation are used in the UCRB. Flood irrigation generally causes greater dissolved-solids loading to streams than sprinkler irrigation. Agricultural lands in the UCRB mapped by state agencies at varying spatial and temporal resolutions were assembled and edited to represent conditions in the UCRB between 2007 and 2010. Edits were based on examination of 1-meter resolution aerial imagery collected between 2009 and 2011. Remote sensing classification techniques were used to classify irrigation status for the June to September growing seasons between 2007 and 2010. The final dataset contains polygons representing approximately 1,759,900 acres of agricultural lands in the UCRB. Approximately 66 percent of the mapped agricultural lands were likely irrigated during the study period.

First posted April 10, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Director, Utah Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
2329 N. Orton Circle
Salt Lake City, utah 84119

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Suggested citation:

Buto, S.G., Gold, B.L., and Jones, K.A., 2014, Development of a regionally consistent geospatial dataset of agricultural lands in the Upper Colorado River Basin, 2007–10: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2014-5039, 20 p.,

ISSN 2328-0328 (online)




Development of a Regionally Consistent Dataset of Agricultural Lands for the Upper Colorado River Basin

Summary and Conclusions

References Cited

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