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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: HYDROLOGIC PROCESSES, SCALE, CLIMATE VARIABILITY, AND WATER RESOURCES FOR SEMIARID WATERSHED MANAGEMENT

Location: Southwest Watershed Research

Title: Evaluating Hydrological Response to Forecasted Land-Use Change: Scenario Testing with the Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment (AGWA) Tool

Authors
item Kepner, W. -
item Semmens, D. -
item Hernandez, M. -
item GOODRICH, DAVID

Submitted to: Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 8, 2008
Publication Date: October 8, 2009
Repository URL: http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2009/5049/pdf/Kepner.pdf
Citation: Kepner, W.G., Semmens, D.J., Hernandez, M., Goodrich, D.C. 2009. Evaluating Hydrological Response to Forecasted Land-Use Change: Scenario Testing with the Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment (AGWA) Tool. The Third Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds, 8-11 September 2008, Estes Park, CO., p. 79-84.

Interpretive Summary: During the past two decades, important advances in the integration of remote imagery, computer processing, and spatial-analysis technologies have been used to develop landscape information that can be integrated with hydrologic models to determine long-term change and make predictive inferences about the future. Envisioning and evaluating future growth and land use patterns (scenarios) has emerged as a critical component of both science and social decision-making. Future land use and land cover can be projected based on, stakeholder preferences, zoning, and patterns of growth. This article presents two studies in which future land-use scenarios were examined relative to their impact on surface-water conditions using watershed simulation models associated with the Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment (AGWA) tool. These studies provide examples of integrating modeling with satellite observing technology to produce information on trends and make plausible forecasts for the future from which to understand the impact of landscape change on watershed and ecological conditions.

Technical Abstract: Envisioning and evaluating future scenarios has emerged as a critical component of both science and social decision-making. The ability to assess, report, map, and forecast the life support functions of ecosystems is absolutely critical to our capacity to make informed decisions to maintain the sustainable nature of our ecosystem services now and into the future. During the past two decades, important advances in the integration of remote imagery, computer processing, and spatial-analysis technologies have been used to develop landscape information that can be integrated with hydrologic models to determine long-term change and make predictive inferences about the future. Two diverse case studies in northwest Oregon (Willamette River basin) and southeastern Arizona (San Pedro River) were examined in regard to future land use scenarios relative to their impact on surface water conditions (e.g., sediment yield and surface runoff) using hydrologic models associated with the Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment (AGWA) tool. The base reference grid for land cover was modified in both study locations to reflect stakeholder preferences 20 to 60 yrs into the future, and the consequences of landscape change were evaluated relative to the selected future scenarios. The two studies provide examples of integrating hydrologic modeling with a scenario analysis framework to evaluate plausible future forecasts and to understand the potential impact of landscape change on ecosystem services.

Last Modified: 8/19/2014
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