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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


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Title: Applications of WEPS and SWEEP to non-agricultural lands

item Tatarko, John
item Walker, David
item Van Donk, Simon

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2011
Publication Date: 9/1/2011
Citation: Tatarko, J., Walker, D., Van Donk, S. 2011. Applications of WEPS and SWEEP to non-agricultural lands. In: Proceedings International Symposium on Erosion and Landscape Evolution (ISELE), 18-21 September 2011, Anchorage, Alaska. ISELE Paper No. 11023. D.C. Flanagan, J.C. Ascough II, and J.L Nieber (eds.). St. Joseph, MI ASABE.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Soil erosion by wind is a serious problem on agricultural lands throughout the United States and the world. Dust from wind erosion obscures visibility and pollutes the air. It fills road ditches where it can impact water quality, causes automobile accidents, fouls machinery, and imperils animal and human health. Dust and specifically particulate matter less than 10 microns (PM10), is regulated by the US EPA National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS) model was developed by the USDA Agricultural Research Service, primarily for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to simulate wind erosion and develop conservation plans on cultivated agricultural lands. WEPS is a process based, daily-timestep model that simulates hydrology, plant growth and decomposition, land management, and soil surface erodibility to simulate soil loss (total, saltation/creep, PM10 sizes) as affected by stochastically simulated local weather. The WEPS erosion submodel has been developed into a stand-alone companion product which simulates single wind storm events (i.e., one day) and is known as the Single-event Wind Erosion Evaluation Program (SWEEP). In addition to cultivated agricultural lands, wind erosion results in sediment and dust emissions from construction sites, mined and reclaimed land, and other disturbed lands. Although developed for agricultural situations, WEPS and SWEEP can be useful tools for simulating erosion by wind for such lands. WEPS is suitable for simulating long term (multiple years) control strategies such as mulching and re-vegetation. SWEEP on the other hand can simulate the potential soil loss for specific planned surface conditions and control practices for a given date. This paper explores the use of WEPS and SWEEP for developing control strategies for fugitive dust on construction and other non-agricultural disturbed lands. Case studies and comparative scenarios with examples of modifying WEPS and SWEEP inputs and management files to simulate common erosion control strategies will be presented. Control strategies discussed include the use of dust suppressants, wind barriers such as silt and snow fencing and hay bales, anchored and crimped straw mulch, re-vegetation, gougers and other roughening practices. Example simulations will be demonstrated. The paper will describe tools needed to design erosion control plans that are not only cost-effective but also demonstrate regulatory compliance by using a science-based approach to risk assessment.

Last Modified: 07/26/2017
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