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Analysis of Topographic Attributes for Identification of Ephemeral Gully Channel Initiation in Agricultural Watersheds

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

Citation:  2011 Louisville, Kentucky, August 7-10, 2011  1111250.(doi:10.13031/2013.37784)
Authors:   Henrique G Momm, Ronald L Bingner, Robert Wells, Seth Dabney Seth Dabney
Keywords:   Ephemeral gullies, channel initiation, topographic indices

Watershed-scale modeling tools, such as USDAs watershed management planning tool AnnAGNPS, already have been developed with components necessary for evaluation of the effect of ephemeral gullies on farming and conservation practices; however, the identification of potential downstream gully channel initiation locations (mouths) is critical. On a watershed scale this represents a time consuming task where users may not accurately locate and describe all the existing and potential ephemeral gully mouths. Alternatively, the identification of ephemeral gully mouths are often empirically related to stream power, which is recognized as a surrogate to flow intensity and sediment carrying capacity, through the use of secondary topographic attributes. Several topographic indices have been proposed to describe stream power and thus to characterize sediment transport in overland flow specifically due to channel initiation and headcut migration. Using high spatial resolution digital elevation models (25 to 200 cm) of an agricultural field located in Kansas, USA, four topographic indices were evaluated to identify potential ephemeral gullies. Results indicated similar ability of these four indices of predicting the location of channel initiation, with slightly better spatial distribution and less number of points yielded by CTI.

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