Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Tucson, Arizona » SWRC » Research » Research Project #435342

Research Project: Big Data for ARS Models to Assess Historical Hydro-climatic Trends and Projected Climate Impacts at LTAR Locations-Phase 2

Location: Southwest Watershed Research Center

Project Number: 2022-13610-012-34-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

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

The objectives of this cooperative research project are to develop new methods and technologies to assess the effectiveness of conservation practices currently employed on rangelands of the Western United States. The project involves the measurement and modeling of hydrology, erosion and sediment yield at a range of scales, with an emphasis on the development of a dynamic model with capability to interface with the watershed models and a user-friendly, web-based interface for representing both disturbed and undisturbed site conditions on rangelands with risk based analysis, with capability for representing orographic precipitation effects, and with inter-storm updates to key model parameters. The tool will be implemented and tested through application to the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). Challenges include the ability to model hydrologic and sediment-related processes across scales ranging from a few meters to kilometers and define pre-storm watersheds conditions using remotely sensed and/or management information. The approach will entail significant geospatial database and modeling needs which are acquired through our cooperator at the University of Arizona.

The project will a) evaluate the next generation of National Weather Service radar rainfall date using observations from the Walnut Gulch LTAR Experimental Watershed and high-resolution estimates from the National Severe Storms Laboratory mobile radar, b) provide new data for DRHEM model development, parameter estimation, and validation studies including rainfall simulation studies to extend and verify DRHEM capabilities; acquisition and analysis of high-resolution rangeland characteristics (vegetation structure and type, surface roughness, topography, etc.) using aerial and terrestrial LIDAR, c) couple DRHEM and KINEROS2 and test over a range of conditions, d) develop AGWA tools to delineate and represent rangeland conservation management practices with NRCS, e) develop a catalog of DRHEM input for Ecological Site Descriptions and critical rangeland management practices, f) develop a catalog of the spatial and temporal scale of rangeland BMPs and how they should be represented in the watershed model at the larger allotment or landscape scale, g) develop improved spatial climate generators to drive DRHEM over larger areas, and h) conduct large area testing of the integrated tool in close coordination with the USDA, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) pilot watershed effort for Rangeland CEAP.