Ag Data Commons

File(s) stored somewhere else

Please note: Linked content is NOT stored on Ag Data Commons and we can't guarantee its availability, quality, security or accept any liability.

Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) Toolbox

posted on 2024-02-08, 18:05 authored by S.A. Porter, Mark D. Tomer, K.M.B. Boomer, David James

Spatial data on soils, land use, and topography combined with knowledge of conservation effectiveness can be used to reduce nutrient discharge from small watersheds.

The Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) Toolbox software includes tools to process the LiDAR-based digital elevation models for hydrologic analysis, which then allows a series of prioritization, riparian classification, and conservation-practice placement tools to be used. These toolsets identify agricultural fields most prone to deliver runoff directly to streams, map and classify riparian zones to inform whole-watershed riparian corridor management, and estimate the extent of tile drainage in the watershed. The software maps out suites of locations appropriate to install each of several types of conservation practices. These practice-placement opportunities are mapped for practices including controlled drainage, grassed waterways, water and sediment control basins, and nutrient removal wetlands. Rather than making any recommendations, ACPF provides an inventory of watershed assessment data and conservation placement opportunities across a watershed, in order to inform local watershed planning.

ACPF software runs as an extension to ArcGIS software (ver 10.2 or higher) and requires the customized ACPF spatial databases that include agricultural field boundaries and land uses, key soil survey information, and LiDAR based elevation data that are all tied to the Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) 12 watershed scale.

Resources in this dataset:

  • Resource Title: ACPF Watershed Planning Tool Informational Web Site .

    File Name: Web Page, url:

    This related resource, called "A Framework to Facilitate Conservation Planning in Agricultural Watersheds Using Precision GIS-based Technologies," is a web page describing the watershed planning framework. Conceptually, our framework is based on a “Conservation Pyramid” (Figure 1) that emphasizes soil conservation as the foundation to agricultural watershed management. Our planning framework (Figure 2) identifies locations where specific landscape attributes are favorable for installation of each type of practice, and includes methods to prioritize locations according to susceptibility to runoff and erosion losses.




Data contact name

Tomer, Mark D.

Data contact email


U.S. Department of Agriculture -- Agricultural Research Service


  • irregular


  • Not specified

ISO Topic Category

  • environment
  • farming

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

basins; computer software; conservation practices; digital elevation models; drainage; fields; hydrologic models; land use; planning; riparian areas; runoff; sediments; soil; soil surveys; spatial data; streams; tile drainage; topography; vegetated waterways; watersheds; wetlands

OMB Bureau Code

  • 005:18 - Agricultural Research Service

OMB Program Code

  • 005:040 - National Research

ARS National Program Number

  • 211

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public

Preferred dataset citation

Porter, S.A.; Tomer, Mark D.; Boomer, K.M.B.; James, David (2015). Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) Toolbox. U.S. Department of Agriculture -- Agricultural Research Service.