Leveraging an Open Framework for Expanded Modeling Capabilities in BASINS 4.0

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Better Assessment Science Integrating Point and Nonpoint Sources (BASINS) is a multipurpose environmental analysis system designed for use by regional, state, and local agencies performing watershed and water qualitybased studies. It was developed by the EPA's Office of Water to facilitate examination of environmental information, to support analysis of environmental systems, and to provide a framework for examining management alternatives. BASINS integrates environmental data, analytical tools, and modeling programs under a Geographic Information System (GIS) environment to support development of solutions to watershed management problems and environmental protection issues, including development of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs).

BASINS encompasses a suite of water quality models, from sophisticated broad-spectrum watershed models to agricultural models to planning and management level models. The user has the flexibility to choose the model and tools best suited for the requirements of the study. The open-source framework of BASINS is designed around an extensible architecture that readily allows for the inclusion of additional models. Since the initial release of BASINS Version 4.0, several additional models are being added to the modeling suite in BASINS, including USDA's Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), EPA's Storm Water Management Model (SWMM), Penn State University's Generalized Watershed Loading Functions (GWLF), and EPA's Water Quality and Analysis Simulation Program (WASP). Each of these established models is being incorporated into the BASINS system through a plug-in. The plug-in for each model uses the BASINS GIS and meteorological data to assemble the required model input. The plug-in architecture allows BASINS capabilities to expand without issuing a new release each time a model is added to the BASINS modeling suite. This flexibility enables BASINS to continue evolving to meet the changing needs of the TMDL development community.

Keywords: BASINS; Environmental Databases; Modeling; Open GIS; Watershed Modeling

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864709793957986

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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