Development of a Surface Water Object-Oriented Modeling System (SWOOMS) for the Neuse River Estuary, North Carolina

EPA Grant Number: R827957
Title: Development of a Surface Water Object-Oriented Modeling System (SWOOMS) for the Neuse River Estuary, North Carolina
Investigators: Luettich Jr., Richard A. , Stotts, David , Jeffries, Harvey E. , Buzzelli, C. , Paerl, Hans , Bowen, J. , Alperin, Marc
Current Investigators: Luettich Jr., Richard A. , Bowen, J. , Alperin, Marc
Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill , University of North Carolina at Charlotte
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: October 1, 1999 through September 30, 2002
Project Amount: $897,859
RFA: Computing Technology for Ecosystem Modeling (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Statistics


The research will develop a system of ecosystem value indicators (EVIs). The goal is a system, implemented by agency field office staff, that uses generally available data to provide an economically sound means to prioritize habitat acquisitions, evaluate habitat trades, and establish debit/credit criteria for wetland mitigation banking programs.

The overall objective of the proposed research is to develop a Surface Water Object-Oriented Modeling System (SWOOMS) to investigate the relationships between watershed, atmospheric and groundwater loading and critical estuarine ecosystem responses. The specific objectives are to: (1) develop a finite-volume hydrodynamic and transport model component; (2) develop a water column biogeochemical model component; (3) develop a sediment diagenesis model component; (4) design and implement the model components using an object-oriented framework; and (5) design and implement the object-oriented surface water model for seamless input/output with object-oriented models of the atmosphere, watershed, and groundwater media.


The complexity of the linkages between the air, land, subsurface water and surface water in time and space demand innovative computing solutions. Object-oriented computing architectures allow the programmer to capture both the generality and the complexity of the system. Our goal is to develop a surface water model for the Neuse River Estuary (NRE) to simulate the transformations, storage, and ecological impacts of nutrient loading in time and space. SWOOMS will be structured through consultation with colleagues who are developing compatible models for full cross-media exchange of matter and energy in the spatial domain. We will build individual model components using object-oriented code (C++) to simulate hydrodynamics, water column biogeochemistry, and sediment diagenesis. The model components will be merged and we will calibrate and test the prototype SWOOMS. In the final year we will refine the SWOOMS for incorporation with dynamic models of the neighboring media.

Expected Results:

SWOOMS will have a state-of-the-art representation of estuarine dynamics, will be expandable to include additional processes, will provide seamless exchange of energy and matter with complementary models of the neighboring media, and will facilitate the execution of complex, long-term simulations. Integrated material budgets and a wide variety of output scenarios will help provide state and federal legislators and interest groups with a knowledge base to adaptively manage the NRE. The natural, hierarchical design of the object-oriented project will allow us to assess complex ecological phenomena over different spatial and temporal scales. SWOOMS will utilize reusable C++ class libraries designed for solving transport and reaction equations. The object-oriented architecture and linkage to the adjacent boundary containers will allow researchers and managers to move past single use, piecemeal models to those that incorporate the full spectrum of scales, media, environmental factors, and levels of biological response in the Neuse River basin.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 44 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 6 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

multimedia, interdisciplinary, hypoxia, anoxia, water quality, finite volume, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Waste, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Hydrology, Nutrients, Contaminated Sediments, Environmental Chemistry, Chemistry, State, Microbiology, computing technology, ecosystem modeling, fate and transport, aquatic ecosystem, environmental monitoring, nutrient supply, nutrient transport, aquatic modeling, watersheds, contaminated sediment, community decision making, environmental decision making, surface water object-oriented modeling system, surface water, wetland mitigation banking program, water quality, North Carolina (NC), information technology, biogeochemistry, cross-media environmental monitoring, groundwater, stream ecosystem

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2000 Progress Report
  • 2001
  • Final Report