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Research Project: Ecohydrological Processes, Scale, Climate Variability, and Watershed Management

Location: Southwest Watershed Research Center

Title: Evaluating hydrological response of future land cover change scenarios in the San Pedro river (U.S./Mexico) with the Automated Geospatial Watershed (AGWA) tool

Author
item KEPNER, W.G. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item BURNS, I.S. - University Of Arizona
item Goodrich, David - Dave
item GUERTIN, D.P. - University Of Arizona
item SIDMAN, G.S - University Of Arizona
item LEVICK, L.R. - University Of Arizona
item YEE, W.S. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item SCIANNI, M.A. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item MEEK, C.S. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item VOLLMER, J.B. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Submitted to: Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2015
Publication Date: 3/2/2015
Citation: Kepner, W., Burns, I., Goodrich, D.C., Guertin, D., Sidman, G., Levick, L., Yee, W., Scianni, M., Meek, C., Vollmer, J. 2015. Evaluating hydrological response of future land cover change scenarios in the San Pedro river (U.S./Mexico) with the Automated Geospatial Watershed (AGWA) tool. Proceedings of the Fifth Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds. March 2-5, 2015, North Charleson, South Carolina. P. 92-101.

Interpretive Summary: Long-term land-use and land cover change and their associated impacts pose critical challenges to sustaining vital human and environmental benefits provided by healthy watersheds. In this study a method was developed to estimate hydrologic impacts from future growth. Future growth is represented by housing density maps generated every 10 years from 2010 to 2100. These datasets were produced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Integrated Climate and Land-Use Scenarios (ICLUS) project. This project developed future housing density maps by adapting the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) based on social, economic, and demographic storylines for the United States. To estimate hydrologic impacts from future growth, the housing density maps were converted into land cover and land use maps that could be input into the USDA-ARS SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool) watershed model using the Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment (AGWA) tool. This method was applied the San Pedro Basin which spans the U.S. Mexico border near Tucson, Arizona. The method developed provides environmental protection managers and practitioners with an ability to assess the cumulative hydrologic impacts of future growth.

Technical Abstract: Long-term land-use and land cover change and their associated impacts pose critical challenges to sustaining vital hydrological ecosystem services for future generations. In this study, a methodology was developed to characterize potential hydrologic impacts from future urban growth through time. Future growth is represented by housing density maps generated in decadal intervals from 2010 to 2100, produced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Integrated Climate and Land-Use Scenarios (ICLUS) database. ICLUS developed future housing density maps by adapting the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) social, economic, and demographic storylines to the conterminous United States. To characterize hydrologic impacts from future growth, the housing density maps were reclassified to National Land Cover Database 2006 land cover classes and used to parameterize the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) using the Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment (AGWA) modeling system.