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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #349525

Research Project: Improving Agroecosystem Services by Measuring, Modeling, and Assessing Conservation Practices

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Title: Assessing wetland loss impacts on watershed hydrology using an improved modeling approach

item LEE, S - University Of Maryland
item Sadeghi, Ali
item McCarty, Gregory
item Moglen, Glenn
item YEO, I-Y - University Of Newcastle
item Arnold, Jeffrey

Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/11/2018
Publication Date: 7/28/2018
Citation: Lee, S., Sadeghi, A.M., Mccarty, G.W., Moglen, G.E., Yeo, I., Arnold, J.G. 2018. Assessing wetland loss impacts on watershed hydrology using an improved modeling approach. Soil and Water Conservation Society. Soil and Water Conservation Society Annual Meeting.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Despite the importance of wetland impacts on water cycling, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (CBW) has experienced significant wetland losses. The resultant environmental degradation has not been fully characterized. Our aim is to assess wetland loss impacts on watershed hydrology for an agricultural watershed within the Coastal Plain of the CBW using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). Two improved wetland modules were used to better represent physical processes and the spatial distribution of riparian wetlands (RWs) and geographically isolated wetlands (GIWs). The baseline wetland condition was determined based on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) geospatial dataset. The SWAT model coupled with two modules was calibrated and validated against streamflow collected at the watershed outlet. Wetland loss scenarios were applied to compare hydrologic variables between the baseline and wetland loss scenarios. Our results indicate that wetland losses resulted in increasing surface runoff by 9% while decreasing groundwater recharge by 7% in upstream areas. These modifications in water transport mechanisms due to wetland losses led to increased fluctuations in downstream flow response due to extreme flow conditions. These findings demonstrate the hydrologic role of wetlands, supporting the need for ongoing wetland conservation efforts in this region.