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Rural roads and trails as a source of sediment: Preliminary evaluation of models for the Alegre watershed in Eastern Brazil

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

Citation:  21st Century Watershed Technology: Improving Water Quality and Environment Conference Proceedings, 21-24 February 2010, Universidad EARTH, Costa Rica  701P0210cd.(doi:10.13031/2013.29413)
Authors:   Marissa J Duff, Conrad D Heatwole, Marco Aurelio C Caiado
Keywords:   Keywords: Unpaved roads, erosion, sediment delivery, model, Tropics

Erosion from unpaved roads and trails can be a significant contributor of sediment within a watershed. In tropical watersheds this contribution is particularly high since these regions typically have extensive networks of unpaved roads. Such regions have seasons of heavy rain, erodible soils, and little maintenance of the road bed. While current erosion prediction models have been used to simulate road erosion, there has been little comparison between models. This study seeks to compare available road erosion prediction models based on their temporal and spatial scales, representation of erodible features and processes, data requirements, ability to simulate management practices, applicability to tropical environments, ease of use, and level of output. A 13 km2 mixed land use watershed in Eastern Brazil is used as case study area for model comparison. Field observations provide data for the input parameters of the models as well as identify which roads appeared to be the highest contributors of sediment within the watershed. The road segments identified by the models to have high erosion and delivery potential, will be compared to those chosen through field observations. Through this comparison, the erosion prediction models will be evaluated as to their applicability to the Alegre watershed.

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