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Assessing the Long-term Effectiveness of Multiple BMP Settings in Agricultural Watersheds using a GeoWEPP-SWAT Linkage

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Watershed Management to Meet Water Quality Standards and Emerging TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) Proceedings of the Third Conference 5-9 March 2005 (Atlanta, Georgia USA) Publication Date 5 March 2005  701P0105.(doi:10.13031/2013.18094)
Authors:   C. S. Renschler, T. Lee

Over the last three decades significant amount of research in the field of soil and water conservation has focused on how to develop soil and water conservation methods for agricultural land management of single hillslopes and channel segments. Simultaneously mathematical models have been developed to test their effectiveness for representative landscape units at these scales. Often more than one best management practice (BMP) is applied in a watershed setting which makes it important to assess their combined effectiveness and make recommendations for their spatial and temporal scheduling. Existing continuous, process-based simulation models are capable of simulating such complex BMP settings. However, often these models are limited to a particular spatial or temporal scale and fail to assist researchers and decision makers in determining TMDLs for large watersheds. To be able to take advantage of the strengths of each model at their particular application scale, we developed a methodology to combine two accepted and widely used model technologies. The Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model for hillslopes and small watersheds (up to 260 ha) was used to simulate BMP settings at the smaller scales. The Geospatial interface for the WEPP model (GeoWEPP) was used to prepare the model input parameters at large watershed scales. GeoWEPP utilizes publicly available Geographic Information System (GIS) datasets of terrain, soils, land cover, and climate to automatically prepare WEPP model inputs. It also allows the users to analyze the WEPP output as continuous, spatially distributed data layers. However, the WEPP watershed model was not designed for routing water flow in channels for watersheds greater than 260 hectares. At these larger watershed scales, the proposed model linkage replaces the WEPP channel routing by the one used in the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). This GeoWEPP-SWAT linkage therefore offers continuous valid process simulation to test BMP settings at larger watershed scales.

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