Monday, November 5, 2007

Management of a Catastrophic Animal Loss in a High Risk Watershed.

Paul Finnell, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, 100 Centennial Mall North Room 152, MS 33, Lincion, NE 68508 and Mark Davis, Wheat State Agronomy Club, 200 E. South St., Bavaria, KS 67401.

In June 2005 DHS FEMA requested USDA Natural Resources Conservation
Service (NRCS) develop a soil interpretation for carcass burial.  In
October 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, which caused massive livestock
losses, FEMA published further guidance specifying the disposal of
carcasses. In January 2007, the Kansas and Colorado blizzards caused
estimated tens of thousands of massive livestock deaths.  That same
month, January 2007, NRCS used the Web Soil Survey to publish the new
soil interpretation "DHS - Catastrophic Mortality, Large Animal
Disposal, Pit".  This interpretation is posted to the Web Soil Survey to
assist FEMA in planning future catastrophic events.  Using this NRCS
soil interpretation and FEMA guidance, GIS was used to analyze an
environmentally sensitive watershed northwest of Wichita, Kansas to
identify potential carcass burial sites.  The Cheney Watershed contains
both small and large confined animal feeding operations.  A biosecurity
catastrophic scenario with a loss of 30,000 head of cattle within the
watershed, requiring approximately 40 acres of burial site, was used for
this analysis.  The NRCS soil interpretation identifies 57 percent of
the watershed as Very Limited, 41 percent as Somewhat Limited and 2
percent as Not Rated.  No soils were identified as Not Limited therefore
further analysis is necessary to identify suitable burial locations.
Analysis of the soil interpretation "restrictions" identified soil
properties that can be overcome by engineering controls.  The result
produced a map of 60 potential sites suitable for carcass disposal
consisting of a total of 3720 acres or 0.59 percent of the watershed