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Title: Development of a landscape unit delineation framework for ecoy-hydrologic models

item RATHJENS, H - Purdue University
item BIEGER, K - Texas Agrilife Research
item CHAUBEY, I - Purdue University
item Arnold, Jeffrey
item SRINIVASAN, S - Texas A&M University
item Bosch, David - Dave
item ALLEN, P - Baylor University
item VOLK, M - Helmholtz Centre For Environmental Research

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/10/2015
Publication Date: 8/25/2015
Citation: Rathjens, H., Bieger, K., Chaubey, I., Arnold, J.G., Srinivasan, S., Bosch, D.D., Allen, P., Volk, M. 2015. Development of a landscape unit delineation framework for ecoy-hydrologic models [Abstract]. American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting, New Orleans, LA, July 26-29, 2015. Paper No. 152189799.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: A spatially distributed representation of basin hydrology and transport processes in eco-hydrological models facilitates the identification of critical source areas and the placement of management and conservation measures. Especially floodplains are critical landscape features that differ from neighboring uplands in terms of their eco-hydrologic processes and functions. Accordingly, an important step in watershed modeling is the representation of floodplain and upland areas within a watershed. However, currently no geo-computational framework for landscape unit delineation exists that meets the needs of subwatershed-based hydrologic models. The aim of this study is (1) to evaluate four floodplain-upland delineation methods (topographic wetness index, slope position, constant floodplain level, and variable floodplain level) with regard to their suitability for hydrologic models; and (2) to present a geo-computational framework for delineating floodplain and upland landscape units in a watershed using readily available topographic data. The methods are tested in three US watersheds with different climatic, hydrological and geomorphological characteristics. Evaluation of the landscape delineation methods is based on visual comparisons and error matrices (i.e. cross-tabulations of delineated versus reference data). Reference data was obtained from SSURGO flood frequency maps and FEMA flood maps. Results suggest that the slope position and the variable floodplain level method work very well in all three watersheds. Overall accuracy values range from 83 to 93 % for the slope position and from 80 to 95 % for the variable floodplain level method. Future studies will incorporate the floodplain-upland discretization framework into subwatershed-based eco-hydrological models to ensure a realistic representation of hydrologic processes within floodplain and upland areas.