Spatial identification and optimization of upland wetlands in agricultural watersheds

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  • Wetland ecosystems are considered as potential ecological solutions for increasing the capacity of watersheds to store runoff waters upstream, and thereby, decrease risk of downstream flooding. Especially in tile-drained agricultural landscapes, wetlands constructed to intercept these tiles can serve as storage basins for agricultural runoff, leading to both reduction in peak runoff flows and diminished transport of agricultural nutrients. The objective of this study was to develop a watershed-scale methodology for identifying potential sites for wetlands in a tile-drained landscape in the Midwestern USA, and for optimizing the spatial distribution of these wetlands for reductions in peak runoff flows. The benefits of this methodology is demonstrated by using it for selecting appropriate wetland restoration and/or creation sites in Eagle Creek Watershed (ECW), located 10 miles northwest of Indianapolis, IN, USA. Results show that a large number of potential sites could be identified (e.g., 2953 sites in ECW), and with a choice of effective wetland design parameters and with spatial optimization of their areas, locations, and drainage areas, it is possible to achieve significant peak flow reductions with fewer sites and smaller wetlands.
  • Keywords: Geographic information systems, Simulation-optimization, Hydrology, Wetlands
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  • Babbar-Sebens, M., Barr, R., Tedesco, L., & Anderson, M. (2013). Spatial identification and optimization of upland wetlands in agricultural watersheds. Ecological Engineering, 52, 130-142. doi:10.1016/j.ecoleng.2012.12.085
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  • 52
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  • We would like to thank the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (Award # A337-9-PSC-002), and National Science Foundation (Award #1014693, Award# 0910812) for funding various components of this research. The presented work was carried out in the frame of the KWB research project Aquisafe 2. A portion of the project was funded by Veolia Water.



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