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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #377366

Research Project: Conservation Practice Impacts on Water Quality at Field and Watershed Scales

Location: National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory

Title: GIS and remote sensing integration for sediment performance assessment based on a RUSLE and sediment delivery ratio model in northwest Algeria

item OUADJA, ABID - University Mustapha Stambouli Of Mascara
item BENFETTA, HASSEN - University Of Mostaganem
item PORTO, PAOLO - University Of Mediterranean Studies
item MIHOUBI, MUSTAPHA KAMEL - Ecole Nationale Supérieure D’Hydraulique De Blida
item Flanagan, Dennis
item DEHNI, ABDELATIF - Algerian Space Agency
item TALCHABHADEL, ROCKY - Texas A&M Agrilife

Submitted to: Arabian Journal of Geosciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/8/2022
Publication Date: 2/23/2022
Citation: Ouadja, A., Benfetta, H., Porto, P., Mihoubi, M., Flanagan, D.C., Dehni, A., Talchabhadel, R. 2022. GIS and remote sensing integration for sediment performance assessment based on a RUSLE and sediment delivery ratio model in northwest Algeria. Arabian Journal of Geosciences. 15:409.

Interpretive Summary: Soil erosion and the associated losses of sediment into streams and other water bodies is a serious problem throughout the world. In addition to decreasing the productivity of agricultural lands, the sediment in the water can deposit in channels and reservoirs behind dams, decreasing water storage capacity and increasing risks of flooding. Soil erosion control measures can help to reduce sediment losses, and extend the useful life of reservoirs. However, identifying where erosion control is most needed is important in targeting areas with the greatest soil loss potential, given limited resources. Computer simulation modeling tools and geographic information systems (GIS) use spatial data for climate, soils, topography, and land use and erosion prediction equations to provide estimates and maps of soil erosion over large areas. In this study GIS information was used along with a USDA soil erosion model (Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation) to calculate and map soil loss rates across a large watershed area in northwest Algeria. These techniques can help agencies in Algeria and elsewhere in targeting erosion control measures and resources in critical areas to reduce soil erosion and sediment losses to streams and reservoirs. This research impacts scientists, conservation agency personnel, policy-makers, and others involved in natural resource assessments, water supply, and flood control.

Technical Abstract: Land use activities in a basin contribute to the deterioration of water quality through their effects on erosion and sediment losses. Sediment in the form of suspended solids in a river body that is transported to the coastal zone is considered an indicator of declining water quality. This study aimed to determine the potential soil erosion and sediment yield in the Wadi Isser basin in northwest Algeria through integrating geographic information systems and remote sensing using the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) and a sediment delivery ratio. RUSLE is an empirical, parametric model that has been tested and validated under diverse soil (the soil erodibility factor), climate (the rainfall/runoff erosivity factor), topographic parameters (slope length factor and steepness factor), management conditions (the cover-management factor), and a factor that accounts for the effects of soil conservation practices. Potential soil erosion in these sub-watersheds ranged from very low to extremely high. The average annual soil loss in the Wadi Isser basin varied spatially from 0 to 150 t/ha and the average annual soil loss for the entire basin was estimated at 9.4 t/ha. Based on the erosion estimates, the basin landscape was divided into four different classes of erosion intensity: low, moderate, high, and very high. Around 80% of the area (900 square km) of the Wadi Isser basin were identified as being affected by moderate to high erosion severity classes (>5 t/ha/yr), indicating that measures are urgently needed to control soil erosion and sediment losses.