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Modifying WEPP to Improve Streamflow Simulation in a Pacific Northwest Watershed

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

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 56(2): 603-611. (doi: 10.13031/2013.42691) @2013
Authors:   Anurag Srivastava, Mariana Dobre, Joan Q. Wu, William J. Elliot, Emily A. Bruner, Shuhui Dun, Erin S. Brooks, Ina S. Miller
Keywords:   Baseflow Deep seepage Forest watershed Hydrologic modeling Subsurface lateral flow Surface runoff WEPP.

The assessment of water yield from hillslopes into streams is critical in managing water supply and aquatic habitat. Streamflow is typically composed of surface runoff, subsurface lateral flow, and groundwater baseflow; baseflow sustains the stream during the dry season. The Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model simulates surface runoff, subsurface lateral flow, soil water, and deep percolation. However, to adequately simulate hydrologic conditions with significant quantities of groundwater flow into streams, a baseflow component for WEPP is needed. The objectives of this study were (1) to simulate streamflow in the Priest River Experimental Forest in the U.S. Pacific Northwest using the WEPP model and a baseflow routine, and (2) to compare the performance of the WEPP model with and without including the baseflow using observed streamflow data. The baseflow was determined using a linear reservoir model. The WEPP-simulated and observed streamflows were in reasonable agreement when baseflow was considered, with an overall Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) of 0.67 and deviation of runoff volume (Dv) of 7%. In contrast, the WEPP simulations without including baseflow resulted in an overall NSE of 0.57 and Dv of 47%. On average, the simulated baseflow accounted for 43% of the streamflow and 12% of precipitation annually. Integration of WEPP with a baseflow routine improved the model’s applicability to watersheds where groundwater contributes to streamflow.

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