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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Tucson, Arizona » SWRC » Research » Research Project #436621

Research Project: Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment (AGWA) Tool

Location: Southwest Watershed Research Center

Project Number: 2022-13610-012-41-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 31, 2019
End Date: May 31, 2023

Objective:
The objective of this project is to quantitatively link burn severity with existing watershed scale hydrology and erosion models to assess risk to upland and aquatic resources and downstream communities, and to provide technical support to Burned Area Response (BAER) teams completing burned area assessments during the fire season.

Approach:
The questions to be addressed are: 1) what parts of the burned landscape is most susceptible to post-fire runoff, 2) what are the expected inputs to water bodies from different burn severities given associated landscape characteristics, and 3) what are potential impacts to aquatic resources and downstream communities from those impacts? Answers to these questions will be useful for planning fuel treatments, fire management and post-fire mitigation. A second objective is to provide technical support to BAER teams completing burned area assessments during the fire season. A third objective is to develop AGWA enhancements and associated tools defined in consultation with National BAER team leadership to improve AGWA for BAER assessments. This technical support will include off-season training for appropriate GIS and hydrology personnel in the operation of the AGWA model. The support will include remote support to the National BAER Teams during the assessment phase of Burned Area Emergency Response. The eventual goal is for agency resource managers and National BAER teams to become sufficiently trained in the deployment and operation of AGWA for post-fire assessments that they will be able to carry out necessary GIS data acquisition and organization to run AGWA for existing pre-fire conditions and readily import a post-fire burn severity map and run AGWA for post-fire assessments with minimal support from the USDA, Agricultural Research Service (ARS).