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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT OF MODELS AND CONSERVATION PRACTICES FOR WATER QUALITY MANAGEMENT AND RESOURCE ASSESSMENTS

Location: Grassland, Soil and Water Research Laboratory

Title: Modeling erosion and sediment control practices in RUSLE 2.0: A management approach for natural gas well sites in Denton County, TX, USA

Authors
item Wachal, David - STUDENT--UNIV NORTH TEXAS
item Banks, Kenny - CITY OF DENTON
item Hudak, Paul - UNIV NORTH TEXAS
item HARMEL, DAREN

Submitted to: Environmental Geology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 19, 2008
Publication Date: February 15, 2009
Citation: Wachal, D.J., Banks, K.E., Hudak, P.F., Harmel, R.D. 2009. Modeling erosion and sediment control practices in RUSLE 2.0: A management approach for natural gas well sites in Denton County, TX, USA. Environmental Geology. 56(8):1615-1627.

Interpretive Summary: Sediment yields from natural gas well sites can be substantial and warrant consideration of appropriate erosion and sediment control Best Management Practices (BMPs). A version of the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE 2.0) was used to predict sediment yields and evaluate the efficiency of BMPs for multiple combinations of different land surface conditions (soil erodibility and slope) commonly found at gas well sites in Denton County, Texas. Annual average sediment yield predictions from unprotected site conditions ranged from 12.11 to 135.5 t/ha. Sediment yields predictions for 1, 2, 5, and 10-year design storms ranged from 8.1 to 20.6 t/ha. When site conditions were modeled with BMPs, predicted sediment yields were 52 tgo 93 percent less. A comparison of modeled efficiency values to a review of laboratory and field data suggests that modeled (theoretical) sediment yield results with BMPs are likely best case scenarios. This study also evaluated BMPs in the context of site management goals and implementation cost, demonstrating a practical approach for the application of RUSLE 2.0 for managing soil loss and understanding the importance of selecting appropriate site-specific BMPs for disturbed site conditions.

Technical Abstract: Sediment yields from natural gas well sites can be substantial and warrant consideration of appropriate erosion and sediment control Best Management Practices(BMPs). Version 2 of the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE 2.0) was used to predict sediment yields and evaluate the efficiency of BMPs for multiple combinations of different land surface conditions (soil erodibility and slope) commonly found at gas well sites in Denton County, Texas. Annual average sediment yield predictions from unprotected site conditions ranged from 12.11 to 134.5 t/ha. Sediment yields predictions for 1, 2, 5, and 10-year design storms ranged from 8.1 to 20.6 t/ha. When site conditions were modeled with BMPs, predicted sediment yields were 52 to 93 percent less. A comparison of modeled efficiency values to a review of laboratory and field data suggests that modeled (theoretical) sediment yield results with BMPs are likely best case scenarios. This study also evaluated BMPs in the context of site management goals and implementation cost, demonstrating a practical approach for the application of RUSLE 2.0 for managing soil loss and understanding the importance of selecting appropriate site-specific BMPs for disturbed site conditions.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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