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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Swat-Remm Interface for Modeling Effects of Riparian Buffer System on Sub-Basin Hydrology

Authors
item Singh, Amanjot - UNIV OF GUELPH
item Rudra, Ramesh - UNIV OF GUELPH
item Yang, Wu - UNIV OF GUELPH
item Gharabaghi, Bharati - UNIV OF GUELPH
item Lowrance, Robert
item Diluzio, Mauro - TEXAS A & M UNIV

Submitted to: Transactions of the ASABE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 4, 2007
Publication Date: August 12, 2007
Citation: Singh, A., Rudra, R., Yang, W., Gharabaghi, B., Lowrance, R.R., Diluzio, M. 2007. Swat-remm interface for modeling effects of riparian buffer system on sub-basin hydrology. Transactions of the ASABE.

Interpretive Summary: The Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) is used to simulate the hydrology of watersheds. Based on user defined information, SWAT divides watersheds into sub-watersheds and sub-watersheds further into hydrologic response units (HRUs) that represent similar soil and land use combinations. Although in the real world water flows across a landscape and goes from one type of environment to another before reaching a stream or pond, in SWAT the HRUs do not feed into each other and the output of multiple HRUs is lumped within a sub-watershed to generate runoff, sediment and nutrient delivery to the stream. The lumping causes a lot of different land uses and covers to be considered together and makes it difficult to examine the effects practices which only take up narrow swaths of the landscape such as riparian (streamside) buffers. The Riparian Ecosystem Management Model (REMM) is a specialized model to simulate edge of field and riparian buffers. This study reports on the development and application of an interface for SWAT and REMM for simulating hydrology of watersheds containing riparian buffers. The interface is applied to the Canagagigue Creek watershed of the Grand River basin in Southern Ontario, Canada. The results indicate that there is significant reduction in surface runoff and sediment yield when sub-watershed hydrology is simulated using the SWAT-REMM interface. In addition to evaluating watershed hydrology with riparian buffer system, the interface can also be used as a design tool for use of edge of field and riparian buffer systems as best management practices.

Technical Abstract: The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) is a fairly comprehensive tool in simulating watershed hydrological processes. It is capable of dividing watersheds into sub-basins and sub-basins further into hydrologic response units (HRUs) representing soil and land use combinations. However, the HRUs are not hydraulically interconnected and their output is lumped within a subbasin to generate runoff, sediment and nutrient delivery to the stream. The lumping aggregates parameters from various land features, thus making it difficult to examine the effects of some non-dominant practices, such as riparian buffers, on the overall system. On the other hand, specialized models like Riparian Ecosystem Management Model (REMM) only model specific scenarios like riparian buffer systems and are not capable of simulating their effects at the sub-basin scale. This study focuses on the development and application of an interface for SWAT and REMM for simulating hydrology of sub-basins containing riparian buffer systems. The interface is applied to the sub-basins in Canagagigue Creek watershed of the Grand River basin in Southern Ontario, Canada. The results indicate that there is significant reduction in surface runoff and sediment yield when sub-basin hydrology is simulated using the SWAT-REMM interface. Other than evaluating sub-basin hydrology with riparian buffer system, the interface can also be used as a design tool for restoration and construction of riparian buffer systems for best management practice.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014
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