A Watershed Modeling Framework for Military Installations: A Preliminary Approach and Baseline Model Results

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The Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) identified the need to provide Fort Benning, Georgia (and eventually other military installations) with immediately usable and effective models that can be implemented for compliance and long-term watershed planning and management. The subject of this paper is a SERDP-funded project that focuses on the development of a watershed modeling system for Fort Benning using the U.S. EPA BASINS (BASINS) framework. The objective of this 4-year effort is to identify, adapt, and develop watershed management model(s) for Fort Benning that address impacts on watershed hydrology, sediment, water quality and related ecosystem processes and outcomes resulting from military activities and natural resources management. The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) decisions realigned thousands of additional troops and hundreds of military vehicles to Fort Benning and other military facilities, increasing the impact of military operations on the base watersheds. Soils within the Fort Benning watersheds, in general, are highly erodible, and a number of streams are currently listed as sediment impaired under the Federal Clean Water Act Section 303(d). Prudent planning is needed using analysis methods capable of linking land disturbance activities to sediment washoff, and instream impacts on water quality and ecological endpoints. This paper presents the preliminary Phase I results of this project which includes: 1) the initial calibrated baseline model to the Fort Benning watersheds, and 2) the recommended model enhancements identified as a result of investigating eight research areas. The Fort Benning baseline model application focuses on sediment impacts, sources and transport modeling and provides additional means for identifying improvements that are needed to address model limitations and improve the baseline model simulations of fate and transport processes, and land use characterization related to the military mission on Fort Benning.

Keywords: BASINS; HSPF; Watershed modeling; hydrology; military installation; sediment; water quality

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864709793958011

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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