USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Development and validation of the Tahoe Project Sediment Model

Principal Investigators:
William Elliot, USDA Forest Service-Rocky Mountain Research Station
Drea Traeumer, Em Consulting, LLC
Erin Brooks, University of Idaho

Proposal [pdf]

Final Report [pdf]

Please contact Dr. William Elliot with questions regarding the report.

Project Summary

Now more than ever there is a great need for scientifically-defensible, upland decision support tools in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The recognition of the excess build-up of forest fuels and the continued struggle with maintaining or improving clarity in the lake has put enormous pressure on decision-makers in the basin. Managers are faced with stiff time constraints to meet Lake Tahoe Total Maximum Daily Load (Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board [LRWQCB] and Nevada Division of Environmental Protection [NDEP] 2010) requirements while thinning forests to reduce the risk or intensity of wildfire in the basin.

This project developed an upland decision support tool to assist managers in the selection and assessment of site-specific management options to reduce forest fuel loads and to evaluate effectiveness of sediment mitigation practices. The online Tahoe Basin Sediment Model (TBSM) is based on the Watershed Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model and will be parameterized using existing Tahoe experimental databases. TBSM is a flexible web-interface tool which will assess the effects of site-specific management practices on sediment transport and delivery from a treated hillslope to a channel.

One of the primary focuses was to develop training materials that clearly describe how to apply the tool to many of the common fuel management and sediment management practices employed by decision-makers in the basin. The web interface was developed such that new information can be incorporated into the tool as it becomes available from on-going research in or near the basin. TBSM will have an immediate impact in the basin as it provides the scientifically-defensible predictions that watershed managers need.