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Mezcalar Watershed Sedimentation Study and GIS based Watershed Management Analysis

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

Citation:  Pp. 542-547 in Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Environmental Regulations: Proceedings of the March 11-13, 2002 Conference, (Fort Worth, Texas, USA)  701P0102.(doi:10.13031/2013.7609)
Authors:   Samuel Rivera, José L. Chávez, and Rovell I. Guillen
Keywords:   Watershed, land use, erosion, sedimentation, natural resources, GIS, Remote Sensing, Honduras

There is a great need in the world for assessing the different water problems in quantity and quality, in order to address different options for restoration or protection of watersheds. In the world nearly 36 % of the agricultural land has been somehow degraded; about 90 % of the Northern Andean cloud forest has been destroyed, and in the last three decades floods related disasters have increased 40 folds worldwide. This document tries to illustrate applications for sedimentation assessment, terrain stability, and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) evaluation. It summarizes the result of a research conducted on El Mezcalar micro watershed, which is part of the National School of Forest Sciences, ESNACIFORs school forest. The study consisted of a sedimentological and hydrological assessment of a micro - watershed. Additionally, the use of GIS techniques to evaluate the TMDL, sediment problems, and some of the causes, such as deforestation are discussed. The field data collection consisted of a daily flow mensurements along with water sampling to determing suspended sediment content. Paired data was collected for 140 days, from February to October of 1999. As a result, a sediment rating curve was developed: Ss = k Q m were Ss= Suspended Sediment Content (mg/L), Q= discharge (L/s), k= -0.88893, and m= 1.03337. The month with the highest precipitation was September with an average of 10.08 mm/day and a corresponding discharge of 15.43 L/s, while the month with the highest concentration of suspended sediment was June with 0.197 mg/L. Also, the use of automatic weather stations, automatic water quality stations, high resolution DEM (Digital Elevation Model), and Airborne Remote Sensing data, in the application of GIS (Geographic Information System) based algorithms are discussed.

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