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J Environ Manage ; : 111506, 2020 Nov 06.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33168300


Watershed-scale hydrologic models are frequently used to inform conservation and restoration efforts by identifying critical source areas (CSAs; alternatively 'hotspots'), defined as areas that export relatively greater quantities of nutrients and sediment. The CSAs can then be prioritized or 'targeted' for conservation and restoration to ensure efficient use of limited resources. However, CSA simulations from watershed-scale hydrologic models may be uncertain and it is critical that the extent and implications of this uncertainty be conveyed to stakeholders and decision makers. We used an ensemble of four independently developed Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) models and a SPAtially Referenced Regression On Watershed attributes (SPARROW) model to simulate CSA locations for flow, phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediment within the ~17,000-km2 Maumee River watershed at the HUC-12 scale. We then assessed uncertainty in CSA simulations determined as the variation in CSA locations across the models. Our application of an ensemble of models - differing with respect to inputs, structure, and parameterization - facilitated an improved accounting of CSA prediction uncertainty. We found that the models agreed on the location of a subset of CSAs, and that these locations may be targeted with relative confidence. However, models more often disagreed on CSA locations. On average, only 16%-46% of HUC-12 subwatersheds simulated as a CSA by one model were also simulated as a CSA by a different model. Our work shows that simulated CSA locations are highly uncertain and may vary substantially across models. Hence, while models may be useful in informing conservation and restoration planning, their application to identify CSA locations would benefit from comprehensive uncertainty analyses to avoid inefficient use of limited resources.

Hydrol Process ; 32(2): 305-313, 2018.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29681686


Globally, hydrologic modifications such as ditching and subsurface drainage have significantly reduced wetland water storage capacity (i.e., volume of surface water a wetland can retain) and consequent wetland functions. While wetland area has been well documented across many landscapes and used to guide restoration efforts, few studies have directly quantified the associated wetland storage capacity. Here, we present a novel raster-based approach to quantify both contemporary and potential (i.e., restorable) storage capacities of individual depressional basins across landscapes. We demonstrate the utility of this method by applying it to the Delmarva Peninsula, a region punctuated by both depressional wetlands and drainage ditches. Across the entire peninsula, we estimated that restoration (i.e., plugging ditches) could increase storage capacity by 80%. Focusing on an individual watershed, we found that over 59% of restorable storage capacity occurs within 20 m of the drainage network, and that 93% occurs within 1 m elevation of the drainage network. Our demonstration highlights widespread ditching in this landscape, spatial patterns of both contemporary and potential storage capacities, and clear opportunities for hydrologic restoration. In Delmarva and more broadly, our novel approach can inform targeted landscape-scale conservation and restoration efforts to optimize hydrologically mediated wetland functions.

Ecol Appl ; 28(4): 953-966, 2018 06.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29437239


Depressional wetlands of the extensive U.S. and Canadian Prairie Pothole Region afford numerous ecosystem processes that maintain healthy watershed functioning. However, these wetlands have been lost at a prodigious rate over past decades due to drainage for development, climate effects, and other causes. Options for management entities to protect the existing wetlands, and their functions, may focus on conserving wetlands based on spatial location vis-à-vis a floodplain or on size limitations (e.g., permitting smaller wetlands to be destroyed but not larger wetlands). Yet the effects of such management practices and the concomitant loss of depressional wetlands on watershed-scale hydrological, biogeochemical, and ecological functions are largely unknown. Using a hydrological model, we analyzed how different loss scenarios by wetland size and proximal location to the stream network affected watershed storage (i.e., inundation patterns and residence times), connectivity (i.e., streamflow contributing areas), and export (i.e., streamflow) in a large watershed in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota, USA. Depressional wetlands store consequential amounts of precipitation and snowmelt. The loss of smaller depressional wetlands (<3.0 ha) substantially decreased landscape-scale inundation heterogeneity, total inundated area, and hydrological residence times. Larger wetlands act as hydrologic "gatekeepers," preventing surface runoff from reaching the stream network, and their modeled loss had a greater effect on streamflow due to changes in watershed connectivity and storage characteristics of larger wetlands. The wetland management scenario based on stream proximity (i.e., protecting wetlands 30 m and ~450 m from the stream) alone resulted in considerable landscape heterogeneity loss and decreased inundated area and residence times. With more snowmelt and precipitation available for runoff with wetland losses, contributing area increased across all loss scenarios. We additionally found that depressional wetlands attenuated peak flows; the probability of increased downstream flooding from wetland loss was also consistent across all loss scenarios. It is evident from this study that optimizing wetland management for one end goal (e.g., protection of large depressional wetlands for flood attenuation) over another (e.g., protecting of small depressional wetlands for biodiversity) may come at a cost for overall watershed hydrological, biogeochemical, and ecological resilience, functioning, and integrity.

Ciclo Hidrológico , Áreas Alagadas , Modelos Teóricos , North Dakota , Rios
J Hydrol (Amst) ; 567: 668-683, 2018.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31395990


A hydrologic model, calibrated using only streamflow data, can produce acceptable streamflow simulation at the watershed outlet yet unrealistic representations of water balance across the landscape. Recent studies have demonstrated the potential of multi-objective calibration using remotely sensed evapotranspiration (ET) and gaged streamflow data to spatially improve the water balance. However, methodological clarity on how to "best" integrate ET data and model parameters in multi-objective model calibration to improve simulations is lacking. To address these limitations, we assessed how a spatially explicit, distributed calibration approach that uses (1) remotely sensed ET data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and (2) frequently overlooked biophysical parameters can improve the overall predictability of two key components of the water balance: streamflow and ET at different locations throughout the watershed. We used the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), previously modified to represent hydrologic transport and filling-spilling of landscape depressions, in a large watershed of the Prairie Pothole Region, United States. We employed a novel stepwise series of calibration experiments to isolate the effects (on streamflow and simulated ET) of integrating biophysical parameters and spatially explicit remotely sensed ET data into model calibration. Results suggest that the inclusion of biophysical parameters involving vegetation dynamics and energy utilization mechanisms tend to increase model accuracy. Furthermore, we found that using a lumped, versus a spatially explicit, approach for integrating ET into model calibration produces a sub-optimal model state with no potential improvement in model performance across large spatial scales. However, when we utilized the same MODIS ET datasets but calibrated each sub-basin in the spatially explicit approach, water yield prediction uncertainty decreased, including a distinct improvement in the temporal and spatial accuracy of simulated ET and streamflow. This further resulted in a more realistic simulation of vegetation growth when compared to MODIS Leaf-Area Index data. These findings afford critical insights into the efficient integration of remotely sensed "big data" into hydrologic modeling and associated watershed management decisions. Our approach can be generalized and potentially replicated using other hydrologic models and remotely sensed data resources - and in different geophysical settings of the globe.

J Hydrol X ; 12018 Dec 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31448367


Wetlands are often dominant features in low relief, depressional landscapes and provide an array of hydrologically driven ecosystem services. However, contemporary models do not adequately represent the role of spatially distributed wetlands in watershed-scale water storage and flows. Such tools are critical to better understand wetland hydrological, biogeochemical, and biological functions and predict management and policy outcomes at varying spatial scales. To develop a new approach for simulating depressional landscapes, we modified the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model to incorporate improved representations of depressional wetland structure and hydrological processes. Specifically, we refined the model to incorporate: (1) water storage capacity and surface flowpaths of individual wetlands and (2) local wetland surface and subsurface exchange. We utilized this model, termed SWAT-DSF (DSF for Depressional Storage and Flows), to simulate the ~289 km2 Greensboro watershed within the Delmarva Peninsula of the US Coastal Plain. Model calibration and verification used both daily streamflow observations and remotely sensed surface water extent data (ca. 2-week temporal resolution), allowing us to assess model performance with respect to both streamflow and watershed inundation patterns. Our findings demonstrate that SWAT-DSF can successfully replicate distributed wetland processes and resultant watershed-scale hydrology. SWAT-DSF provides improved temporal and spatial characterization of watershed-scale water storage and flows in depressional landscapes, providing a new tool to quantify wetland functions at broad spatial scales.

Front Ecol Environ ; 15(6): 319-327, 2017 Aug.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30505246


Wetlands across the globe provide extensive ecosystem services. However, many wetlands - especially those surrounded by uplands, often referred to as geographically isolated wetlands (GIWs) - remain poorly protected. Protection and restoration of wetlands frequently requires information on their hydrologic connectivity to other surface waters, and their cumulative watershed-scale effects. The integration of measurements and models can supply this information. However, the types of measurements and models that should be integrated are dependent on management questions and information compatibility. We summarize the importance of GIWs in watersheds and discuss what wetland connectivity means in both science and management contexts. We then describe the latest tools available to quantify GIW connectivity and explore crucial next steps to enhancing and integrating such tools. These advancements will ensure that appropriate tools are used in GIW decision making and maintaining the important ecosystem services that these wetlands support.