The Halo Effect: Do Short-Term Watershed Project Successes Lead to Long-Term Continued Successes?

Our webinar on Wednesday focused on a project that assessed the long-term continued success of three different voluntary watershed management approaches.

Jamie Benning and Dr. Jacqueline Comito, both with Conservation Learning Group, shared an overview of the project and discussed how the short-term and long-term success of watershed management projects can be assessed. For the project three watersheds where different watershed management projects have been implemented were compared to nearby watersheds that have not had recent watershed management projects.

Slide from Benning & Comito’s presentation showing their criteria for short-term success
Slide from Benning & Comito’s presentation showing their criteria for long-term success

In the summer of 2018, Benning and Comito conducted listening sessions with farmers and landowners in the three watersheds with watershed management projects. During 2019, they surveyed farmers and landowners in the watersheds, and compared each watershed to a nearby, similar watershed. The comparison was done both in terms of resources that farmers and landowners can access and land characteristics.

Their assessment of the success of the watershed projects showed that although the projects had a degree of short-term success, that this did not necessarily translate to long-term success.

The halo effect and watershed projects, slide from Benning & Comito’s presentation

Benning and Comito then asked the webinar participants to consider if it’s possible to build a better watershed project, one that supports both short-term and long-term success. To learn more about this research project, watch the full webinar here!

Join us on Wednesday, October 21 for the webinar “Sustainable Weed Management Solutions for Iowa Corn and Soybean” with Prashant Jha, associate professor and extension weed specialist at ISU.

Hilary Pierce