Soil erosion and the siltation of waterways have long been major environmental concerns on military installations. Current one-dimensional empirical and process-based runoff and erosion models cannot account for the spatial heterogeneity and topographic complexity that are typical of military training and testing lands. The development of new tools to model distributed surface runoff, erosion, and deposition in complex terrains is necessary. It is important that these tools accurately predict the environmental impacts of military-related activities in order to optimize land rehabilitation programs for military installations.

This project seeks to develop methods to predict the spatial and temporal distribution of runoff, soil erosion, and sediment deposition within complex watersheds.

Technical Approach

This project has produced a multivariate spline interpolation method for processing coarse resolution digital elevation data, scattered point data, and topographic contour data into high resolution digital elevation data required by newgeneration modeling efforts. Researchers developed the unit stream power theory approach to the Universal Soil Loss Equation. Use of this approach will facilitate applicability to complex topography, improve the spatial accuracy of erosion predictions, and add the capability to predict sediment deposition. The two-dimensional CASC2D rainfall-runoff model has been enhanced to include an upland erosion algorithm. A two-dimensional process-based Simulated Water Erosion (SIMWE) model has been developed by applying the detachment and transport capacity theory approach to erosion and sediment prediction to complex terrain, soil, and cover conditions. Multidimensional graphic visualization techniques have been developed to support the design and communication of dynamic erosion and sediment transport model results.


The erosion model based on the unit stream power theory was completed and is available for incorporation into the Army Training and Testing Area Carrying Capacity model. The CASC2D rainfall-runoff watershed model was validated and incorporated into the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Waterway Experiment Station’s Watershed Management System. The SIMWE model successfully analyzed and designed the placement of selected erosion protection measures based on land cover. New visualization techniques were integrated in an open Geographic Information System environment for use by other model developers.


This technology will provide improved capabilities for generating accurate digital elevation models and performing topographic analyses for various terrain- related applications. It will improve the ability to estimate erosion and deposition potentials. The new technology will assist military land managers in optimizing training schedules, prioritizing and designing land rehabilitation projects, monitoring environmental changes over time, and maximizing the availability of military lands while minimizing the impact to natural resources. The net results will include improved land use management and rehabilitation programs and reduced land maintenance costs.

  • Restoration