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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory » Research » Research Project #429614

Research Project: Comparing and Refining Models of Wetland-Stream Hydrologic Connectivity

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-13610-029-22-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 25, 2015
End Date: Jul 31, 2018

Objective:
To compare and refine hydrologic modeling approaches with varying complexity and data requirements to improve simulations of wetland-stream connectivity in the Delmarva Peninsula and Prairie Pothole Region (PPR).

Approach:
Initially, we will use code review and comparative simulations in a conceptual landscape (e.g., uniform land cover, simplified hydrogeology) to select the most appropriate surface-subsurface model (e.g., GSFLOW, SWAT) for simulating depressional wetland effects on downstream discharge, while also identifying refinement opportunities to better incorporate depressional wetland hydrologic properties (e.g., local groundwater exchange) and spatial configuration (e.g., individual wetlands vs. lumped). In parallel efforts, we will further develop McLaughlin et al. (2014)’s model of wetland–stream connectivity. We note that this model was developed for generic landscapes with uniformly distributed wetland area and specifically focuses on the role of local groundwater exchange in buffering downstream flows. As such, our efforts here will concentrate on including other mechanisms that can influence wetland connectivity (e.g., fill and spill dynamics), as well as parameters to better represent heterogeneity in wetland spatial configuration. We will then use collected hydro-climatic and spatial data at instrumented watersheds in the Delmarva Peninsula and PPR to parameterize, evaluate, and further refine the two models. Existing modeling efforts at both regions will expand our comparisons of models with varying complexity and underlying structures. Our end goal is to optimize the predictive power of contrasting modeling approaches (simple vs. highly parameterized) to simulate wetland connectivity at local and watershed scales.