Rapid Watershed Assessment (RWA), a NRCS initiative, is both a resource for data and a framework for watershed evaluation. As a nation program delegated to NRCS at the state level, the status of completion of these assessment varies a great deal, from Wisconsin, where most HUC-8 watersheds have complete assessments, to Utah with less than a third completed. The RWA is a GIS based program that brings together an abundance of relevant data and background information to provide an overview of watershed conditions and constraints. Data provided include Water assessment, Soil information, land use, and census data. It also provides information on existing studies and projects within the watershed.
As a tool, the RWA contains an abundance of valuable data and information. Because it is GIS based, even groups working at a subwatershed scale can apply the data and use the information. As a framework, the RWA can be seen as a methodology that informs sound and comprehensive rationale for understanding watershed conditions. This type of watershed analysis proves especially valuable in targeting to reduce nutrient pollution as it provides linkages and data on the relationships between land-use and in stream conditions.
Access a complete list of states with Rapid Watershed Assessments, and link to their pages HERE.