Improving Water Storage for Water Resilience: Developing a Train-the-Trainer Program on Best Practices for Agricultural Ponds and Reservoirs

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2024: $99,828.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2027
Grant Recipient: Oregon State University
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Abigail Tomasek
Oregon State University
Samuel Chan
Oregon State University (1862 Land Grant)
Derek Godwin
Oregon State University
Dr. María Zamora Re
Oregon State University


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

The western US is experiencing
unprecedented drought and increasingly extreme heat events,
leading to both a greater demand for irrigation water and less
water to meet these demands. Storing water is thus becoming a
critically important tool utilized by farmers and ranchers to
increase on-farm resilience. Hotter and drier summers, however,
are leading to heightened challenges with water storage including
vegetative growth, eutrophication, and water use restrictions.
Due to these issues, OSU Extension and local conservation
agencies have received weekly questions regarding the
construction, use, and maintenance of agricultural ponds and
reservoirs for water storage. A lack of region-specific
informational materials has meant agricultural professionals are
unable to efficiently and effectively address growers’

To address this critical lack of
information, we will develop a Train-the-Trainer program, the
Agricultural Pond and Reservoir Management (Ag-PARM) program, in
collaboration with key growers and professionals serving the
agricultural community. The Ag-PARM program will consist of
modules that address the permitting, design, use, and
agricultural and ecological benefits of ponds and reservoirs. It
will be developed with a statewide focus, but due to the large
climatic and agricultural differences across Oregon, will be
regionally adapted for four distinct agroecosystems: the Oregon
Coast, the Willamette Valley, central Oregon, and eastern


The project will culminate in one-day
workshops in each of the four regions where we will directly
train approximately 120 agricultural water management
professionals using the Ag-PARM curriculum. The prepared
curriculum materials will be used for the development of easily
digestible peer-reviewed university Extension documents, an
interactive learning website, and an Oregon State University
(OSU) Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) course to
expand the reach of the training and continue educating key
stakeholders after the project

Project objectives from proposal:

The overall objective of this project
is to develop a Train-the-Trainer program for agricultural pond
and reservoir management (Ag-PARM). The program will culminate in
Train-the-Trainer workshops in four regions across Oregon
(Coastal, the Willamette Valley, Central, and Eastern) for state
and local agencies, conservation districts, county Extension
agents, influential producers, and others, with the idea that
they will be able to effectively provide educational and
technical assistance to growers in their

Specific objectives

  1. Objective 1 - Needs
    Work with Extension county agents and local
    experts in the four regions to survey agricultural
    professionals and producers on the regional information gaps,
    interests, and needs surrounding ponds and reservoirs. This
    will be performed at the beginning of the project and completed
    by the second quarter of Year 1.
  2. Objective 2 - Material
    The project team in the four regions will
    co-create the training modules and materials with input from
    key agricultural professionals and producers. Annual planning
    meetings will allow for strengthened regional connections,
    prioritization of needs, and project feedback. These materials
    will be completed by the end of Year
  3. Objective 3 -
    Conduct one-day workshops in each of
    the four regions to train approximately 30 professionals per
    region (e.g., state and local agencies, Extension agents,
    conservation districts, and influential producers) using the
    developed curriculum.

  4. Objective 4 - Project
    By the end of the project, the materials
    created in Obj 2 will be submitted to OSU Communications to
    develop Extension documents, the material will be used to
    create an interactive learning website, and the developed
    curriculum will be submitted to OSU’s Professional and
    Continuing Education (PACE) office to begin the process of
    creating a PACE course. These activities will expand the reach
    of the project and continue training agricultural professionals
    on ponds and reservoirs.



Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.