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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MODELING FIRE EFFECTS ON WATER QUALITY FOR DECISION SUPPORT AND TARGETED MITIGATION IN NATIONAL PARK SERVICE (NPS) RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this project is to quantitatively link burn severity with existing watershed scale hydrology and erosion models to assess risk to aquatic resources and downstream communities.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
For 4 to 5 National Parks assemble the needed data and calibrate the watershed models for current conditions. Post-fire watershed assessment can then be conducted quickly by importing a fire severity map. Transform available data and model simulation results to information tailored to NPS resource management needs for decisions regarding fire and fuel-load management. Train NPS and BAER staff to use the AGWA integrated modeling tool.


3.Progress Report:

In the last year we have identified four national parks for further analysis. For each of these parks all the relevant land cover, land use, terrain, and soils geographic data has been collected. In addition, all available weather and streamflow data has been identified and collected. For the conditions represented by these data layers the two watershed models within Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment (AGWA) tool (SWAT and KINEROS2) were run to determine watershed response. Discussions are currently underway with Park resource managers to identify local data sources that might be incorporated into the watershed descriptions and to identify management scenarios (prescribed burns, invasive species control, etc.) that will be evaluated with AGWA. In addition, a number of enhancements to AGWA were identified as part of AGWA training conducted early in the project. These enhancements are being programmed into AGWA and will be demonstrated during a second AGWA training that will occur in the fall of 2012 or the spring of 2012. The success of AGWA demonstrated at the initial training session led to a request by Dept. of Interior National Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) teams to use it perform rapid post-wildfire watershed assessments in 2011 on the largest recorded fires in Arizona and New Mexico. The model results were used to focus post-fire mitigation activities and to explain to the public and local disaster management officials where downstream flooding and hazards might occur. This project contributes to objective 3 of the in-house project.


Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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