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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Improving Computational Modeling in Support of Better Erosion and Sediment Movement Control in Agricultural Watersheds

Location: Watershed Physical Processes Research

Project Number: 6060-13000-025-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jun 7, 2012
End Date: May 14, 2017

1. Improve the capability, accuracy and efficiency of computational modeling technology and methodology to better predict the free surface flow associated with physical processes, e.g. complex flows over irregular and varying topography resulting from storms, levee breaching and dam failure. Research includes the upgrading of recently developed NCCHE-models to: 1a. simulate free surface flows more realistically; 1b. enhance the computing speed for simulating flows in larger regions for longer time; and 1c. provide better GIS-based data management and scientific visualization/animation tools. 2. Integrate the improved free surface flow models with the erosion and sediment transport models to quantify and predict ephemeral gully development, dam and levee breaching, and sediment relocation and control during dam removal or failure. Research includes: 2a. improving and modifying the existing models for simulating erosion, sedimentation and morphologic processes. These models were developed by NCCHE for specific applications, such as in-stream processes in drainage networks of agricultural watersheds, embankment erosion, levee/dam breaching, sediment relocation control in dam rehabilitation or removal, etc; and 2b. developing user-friendly software packages for research scientists and field professionals to solve agricultural problems in conducting their projects. 3. Develop and upgrade models to better predict the movement and dispersion of agricultural contaminants and their interactions with the sediment and bed materials in surface water systems. Research includes: 3a. improving and modifying the contaminant transport model for environmental impact assessment applications, and 3b. developing user-friendly software packages for research scientists and field professionals working on agricultural watersheds. 4. Integrate and improve decision support systems for watershed management that are reliable, computationally efficient, readily usable, and transferable. Research includes: 4a. updating existing file interface, coupling CCHE1D and AnnAGNPS models and porting the CCHE1D graphic interface to ArcGIS platform to ensure full GIS capability, and 4b. upgrading and enhancing the existing GIS-based decision support system for integrated watershed management by (1) adding coupled CCHE1D and SWAT/APEX modeling capability, (2) implementing the capability for automatic watershed model generation and automatic input data preparation for field scale ephemeral gully erosion by querying USDA-NRCS databases and other data sources, and (3) implementing a module to minimize morphodynamic effects in drainage networks by optimizing sediment control and management with novel nonlinear optimization techniques.

The research approach is common to all four research objectives and is designed to (1) systematically increase the models’ capabilities of simulating the physical processes, (2) rigorously and comprehensively verify and validate the newly improved models, and (3) develop the application of software for specific agricultural applications in collaboration with research scientists and/or field professionals. Emphasis will be placed on the release of mathematically verified and physically validated computational models to research scientists for advancing the basic knowledge of physical processes and to professionals for scientifically predicting the outcome of planned practices. Computational modeling technology will be routinely advanced to meet increasing demand as called for.

Last Modified: 10/20/2017
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