Demonstration and Validation of a Linked Watershed-Riverine Modeling System for DoD Installations

Dr. Billy Johnson | USACE-ERDC



The objective of this project is to demonstrate and validate a linked watershed and riverine modeling system for Department of Defense (DoD) installations. The system will help land managers assess outcomes resulting from military activities and support installation sustainability through informed watershed management of water, water quality, contaminants, and land-use impacts. The scope of the project will cover multiple DoD installations to demonstrate the transferability of the modeling system across varying climatic regions and hydrologic regimes.

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Technology Description

The modeling system will be developed and enhanced from existing watershed and riverine models. Hydrological Simulation Program-Fortran (HSPF) will be used to compute water flow, soil erosion/sedimentation, nutrients, and contaminant loadings, whereas the Hydrologic Engineering Centers River Analysis System (HEC-RAS) will be used to evaluate instream water quality and aquatic ecosystem responses from watersheds both within and outside an installation.

HSPF simulates for extended periods of time the hydrologic, and associated water quality, processes on pervious and impervious land surfaces and in streams and well-mixed impoundments. HSPF is a valuable tool for water resource planners because it is more comprehensive than most systems.

The HEC-RAS system contains four one-dimensional river analysis components for: (1) steady flow water surface profile computations, (2) unsteady flow simulation, (3) movable boundary sediment transport computations, and (4) water quality analysis (via the Nutrient Simulation Module [NSM] and Contaminant Transport, Transformation, and Fate [CTT&F] sub-model). A key element is that all four components use a common geometric data representation and common geometric and hydraulic computation routines. NSM is a set of nutrient kinetic libraries developed within HEC-RAS. NSM computes riverine multiple algal biomass, nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon cycling, as well as dissolved oxygen, chemical oxygen demand, alkalinity, pH, and pathogens. CTT&F enables a user to assess the impacts of contaminated areas on military installations and ranges as well as superfund sites. The HEC-RAS/CTT&F model addresses transport and fate of multi-species and multi-phase contaminants; as a result, it is able to handle military contaminants such as explosives and heavy metals.

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Benefits can be derived from the ability of the linked modeling system to determine contaminant loads entering and leaving the installation. In certain locations, this can be used to identify to what extent the installation is responsible for the impaired waters. In cases where mitigation needs to take place, the system will help land managers better assess which scenarios will provide the most environmental benefits for the least financial cost. (Anticipated Project Completion - 2017)

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Points of Contact

Principal Investigator

Dr. Billy Johnson


Phone: 601-634-3714

Fax: 601-634-3129

Program Manager

Resource Conservation and Resiliency