Science Inventory

HYDROLOGIC MODEL UNCERTAINTY ASSOCIATED WITH SIMULATING FUTURE LAND-COVER/USE SCENARIOS: A RETROSPECTIVE ANALYSIS

Citation:

SEMMENS, D. J., M. HERNANDEZ, D. C. GOODRICH, AND W. G. KEPNER. HYDROLOGIC MODEL UNCERTAINTY ASSOCIATED WITH SIMULATING FUTURE LAND-COVER/USE SCENARIOS: A RETROSPECTIVE ANALYSIS. In Proceedings, Proceedings of the 2nd Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds, Otto, NC, May 16 - 18, 2006. USDA Forest Service, 33-40, (2006).

Impact/Purpose:

The overarching objective is to develop and test landscape indicator statistical models for condition of streams and aquatic biota in relation to pesticides, nutrients, sediments and toxic substances, nationwide. The indicator models will serve as tools for managers who want consistent methods to compare potential impacts on streams within a biophysical region for differing landscape patterns. To accomplish this objective, several sub objectives will be important:

Develop landscape indicator statistical models of stream vulnerability for selected regions of the U.S., beginning with the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Streams; studies in the Midwest, California, and the Southeast will follow.

Demonstrate the application of the landscape indicator models for the ranking of watersheds, the identification of "hot spots," and the evaluation of management options using projected future scenarios of land use for the study areas selected above.

Develop statistical distributions for physical characteristics of small water bodies for use in OPP modeling.

Leverage resources for this research by incorporating existing data into the model development process, and by sharing field study costs with other projects in the same geographic areas.

This task represents a topic area within the Landscape Sciences research program which is described in A National Assessment of Landscape Change and Impacts to Aquatic Resources. A 10-Year Research Strategy for the Landscape Sciences Program, EPA/600/R-00/001. It also supports the Regional Vulnerability Assessment (ReVA) Program.

Besides being responsive to the Office of Pesticide Programs, this research directly supports long-term goals established in ORD's multi-year research plans related to GPRA Goal 2 (Water Quality) and GPRA Goal 8.1.1 (Sound Science/Ecological Research). Relative to the GPRA Goal 2 multi-year plan, this research will "provide tools to assess and diagnose impairment in aquatic systems and the sources of associated stressors" and "provide the tools to restore and protect aquatic ecosystems and to forecast the ecological, economic, and human health outcomes of alternative solutions" (Long Term Research Goals 2 and 3). Relative to the Goal 8 multi-year plan, this research will develop and demonstrate methods to provide states, tribes, and federal, state and local managers with abilities to: (1) assess the condition of waterbodies in a scientifically-defensible and representative way, while allowing for aggregation and assessment of trends at multiple scales; (2) diagnose cause and forecast future condition in a scientifically defensible fashion to more effectively protect and restore valued ecosystems; and (3) assess current and future ecological conditions, probable causes of impairments, and management alternatives.

Description:

GIS-based hydrologic modeling offers a convenient means of assessing the impacts associated with land-cover/use change for environmental planning efforts. Alternative future scenarios can be used as input to hydrologic models and compared with existing conditions to evaluate potential environmental impacts as part of this process. Model error, however, can be significant and potentially compounded when projecting future land-cover/use change and management conditions. To address this problem we have utilized repeat observations of land cover/use as a proxy for projected future conditions. A systematic analysis of model efficiency during simulations based on observed land-cover/use change is used to quantify error associated with simulations for a series of known future landscape conditions over a 24-year period. Calibrated and uncalibrated assessments of relative change over different lengths of time are also presented to determine the types of information that can reliably be used in planning efforts for which calibration is not possible.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PAPER IN NON-EPA PROCEEDINGS)
Product Published Date: 05/18/2006
Record Last Revised: 03/19/2012
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 150972

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LABORATORY

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES DIVISION

LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY BRANCH