Submitted to: Environmental Modeling International Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2002
Publication Date: 7/26/2002
Citation: Renschler, C.S., Flanagan, D.C. Implementing a process-based decision support tool for natural resource management-the GEOWEPP example. Environmental Modeling International Conference Proceedings. 2002. v. 3. p. 187-192. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Practical decision-making in spatially distributed natural resource management is increasingly based on process models linked to Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Geo-spatial environmental data and decision support tools can now be made available to a much larger audience by using powerful personal computers and internet-accessible mapping tools. Traditionally decision support tools based on process models were not developed for applications across a wide range of spatial and temporal scales of interest, utilizing commonly available data of variable precision and accuracy, and Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) to communicate with a diverse spectrum of users with different levels of expertise. To implement such scientifically accepted and highly sophisticated models risks poor decision making by a diverse group of users based on inaccurate results derived by applying the model at an inappropriate scale, or by using data of insufficient precision or accuracy. Consequently, it is critical to develop a scientific and functional strategy to successfully design, implement and apply such geo-spatial decision support tools. GUIs play a key role in communicating effectively between the model developer and user in describing data and model scales, as well as GIS methods for transformation of information between scales that produce useful assessment results at the user's scale of interest. This paper presents a strategy and a scaling theory that are implemented in developing a geo-spatial natural resource management tools for the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP). The Geo-spatial interface for WEPP (GeoWEPP) accounts for fundamental processes, model and users needs, but also matches realistic data availability and environmental settings. Presently the GeoWEPP approach enables even the non-GIS-and-modeling-literate user to quickly assemble the model input data from a local or the WEPP database and geo-spatial data that is readily available through the Internet for any location in the contiguous US to start soil and water conservation planning. The development of GeoWEPP impacts conservation agency personnel, environmental consultants and others who have a need for assessment of soil erosion and sediment loss in small watersheds. The software allows for easy and rapid assessment of land management effects on soil loss.