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Science You Can Use Bulletin: From watersheds to the web: Online tools for modeling forest soil erosion

Posted date: March 06, 2015
Publication Year: 
2014
Authors: Miller, Sue; Elliot, William J.Robichaud, Pete R.; Foltz, Randy; Flanagan, Dennis; Brooks, Erin
Publication Series: 
Science Bulletins and Newsletters
Source: Science You Can Use Bulletin, Issue 14. Fort Collins, CO: Rocky Mountain Research Station. 10 p.

Abstract

Forest erosion can lead to topsoil loss, and also to damaging deposits of sediment in aquatic ecosystems. For this reason, forest managers must be able to estimate the erosion potential of both planned management activities and catastrophic events, in order to decide where to use limited funds to focus erosion control efforts. To meet this need, scientists from RMRS (and collaborators) have spent over a decade developing a suite of online tools that can be used to predict erosion potential of forest alterations such as road building, forest management, and wildfire, as part of the Forest Service-Water Erosion Prediction Project (FS-WEPP). WEPP: Road was designed for predicting erosion from roads - a chronic source of forest sediment - and provides an estimate of the average annual sediment delivery of a road or road network. The Erosion Risk Management Tool (ERMiT) can estimate of the amount of post-fire erosion, and it also allows the user to evaluate the effect of different erosion control treatments options. Disturbed WEPP allows managers to model erosion from many disturbed forest and rangeland erosion conditions (such as management activities), including low and high severity burns. Also in development is the WEPP Online GIS Watershed Interface, which allows watershed-level erosion predictions on any PC with access to Google Maps. FS-WEPP is being continually refined, improved, and expanded upon to increase its usefulness, and to enable managers to run predictive watershed models for better land management decision-making and more desirable outcomes.

Citation

Miller, Sue; Elliot, Bill; Robichaud, Pete; Foltz, Randy; Flanagan, Dennis; Brooks, Erin. 2014. From watersheds to the web: Online tools for modeling forest soil erosion. Science You Can Use Bulletin, Issue 14. Fort Collins, CO: Rocky Mountain Research Station. 10 p.