Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Boise, Idaho » Northwest Watershed Research Center » Research » Research Project #435107

Research Project: Rangeland Hydrology and Erosion Model (RHEM) Development and Applications

Location: Northwest Watershed Research Center

Project Number: 2052-13610-014-011-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2018
End Date: Aug 31, 2023

The Rangeland Hydrology and Erosion Model (RHEM) is a process-based model developed by USDA-ARS for assessing runoff, soil erosion rate, and sediment delivery on rangelands at the hillslope scale for a single rainfall event. Appropriate parameterization and evaluation of model performance are critical for model acceptance by land managers as a useful tool. The objectives of this project are to: 1) enhance RHEM parameter estimation procedures, particularly for infiltration; and 2) evaluate the performance of RHEM and its components especially when applied to rangeland wildfire conditions.

To accomplish the objectives of the research, the following tasks will be performed: 1. Evaluate the performance of RHEM for generating runoff on burned rangelands using existing field data. The performance of the model will be evaluated without calibration as well as by optimizing sensitive parameters such as hydraulic conductivity (Ke). 2. Evaluate the current parameterization equation for hydraulic conductivity (Ke) in RHEM for burned conditions using existing field data, and if necessary develop new parameterization equations specifically for disturbed rangeland. 3. Determine the potential for addressing the influence of hydrophobic soil conditions on infiltration by enhancing model components or through enhanced model parameterization equations.