Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research
Project Number: 5370-13610-001-13
Start Date: Apr 15, 2013
End Date: May 31, 2015
The Desert Research Institute (DRI) will work with the ARS scientific team to design modifications to the rainfall simulator that allow a nadir viewing digital camera to be moved across the top of the structure so that stereo digital photographs can be acquired for subsequent development of orthophotography and a digital elevation model of the simulator plot. A track system with a pulley will allow a camera mount to transit along the top of the simulator structure. This track system will allow a nadir-viewing digital camera to efficiently collect overlapping photographs of the simulator plot without interfering with the normal operation of the simulator. DRI will design and assemble these modifications to the simulator. DRI also will provide engineering drawings of modifications to the simulator that will allow ARS to maintain and repair the system over time. Desert Research Institute will participate in field research with the ARs scientific team to quantify concentrated flow soil erosion and document its effects on water quality and quantity for western rangelands in support of the USDA Conservation Affects Assessment Project (CEAP). DRI will collect and analyze data on the three dimensional configuration of soil and vegetation in conjunction with the operation of a rainfall simulator by ARS scientists. A portable LIDAR system will scan ARS rainfall simulator plots before and after a number of rainfall simulations. Three dimensional point clouds from the LIDAR system will be processed into digital elevation models that are suitable for assessing soil erosion. LIDAR data will be processed in order to allow effective comparisons with alternative methods of surface model development, such as digital photogrammetry. DRI will work with ARS scientists on joint research to characterize the effects of vegetation and soil surface geometry on concentrated flow patterns. DRI will work collaboratively with ARS scientists to publish findings in peer reviewed scientific journals.