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ERDC Library Catalog

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  • Evaluation of Climatic and Hydroclimatic Resources to Support the US Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Program

    Abstract: Short-term climatic and hydrologic interactions, or hydroclimatology, are an important consideration when delineating the geographic extent of aquatic resources and assessing whether an aquatic resource is a jurisdictional water of the United States (WOTUS) and is therefore subject to the Clean Water Act (CWA). The now vacated 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) required the evaluation of precipitation and other hydroclimatic conditions to assess the jurisdictional status of an aquatic resource based on normal hydroclimatic conditions. Short-term hydroclimatic conditions, such as antecedent precipitation, evapotranspiration, wetland delineation, and streamflow duration assessments, provide information on an aquatic resource’s geo-graphic extent, hydrologic characteristics, and hydrologic connectivity with other aquatic resources. Here, researchers from the US Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) evaluate tools and data available to practitioners for assessing short-term hydroclimatic conditions. The work highlights specific meteorological phenomena that are important to consider when assessing short-term hydroclimatic conditions that affect the geographic extent and hydrologic characteristics of an aquatic resource. The findings suggest that practitioners need access to data and tools that more holistically consider the impact of short-term antecedent hydroclimatology on the entire hydrologic cycle, rather than tools based solely on precipitation.
  • Understanding and Improving Snow Processes in Noah-MP over the Northeast United States via the New York State Mesonet

    Abstract: Snow is a critical component of the global hydrologic cycle and is a key input to river and stream flow forecasts. In 2016, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched the National Water Model (NWM) to provide a high-fidelity numerical forecast of streamflow integrated with the broader atmospheric prediction modeling framework. The NWM is coupled to the atmospheric model using the Noah-MP land surface modeling framework. While snow in Noah-MP has been consistently evaluated in the western United States, less attention has been paid to understanding and optimizing its performance in the Northeast US (NEUS). The newly installed New York State Mesonet (NYSM), a network of high-quality surface meteorological stations distributed across New York State, provides a unique opportunity to evaluate Noah-MP performance in the NEUS. In this report, we document the methodology used to perform single-column simulations using meteorological inputs from the NYSM and compare the point evaluations against baseline NWM performance. We further discuss how enhanced surface energy balance measurements at a selection of NYSM sites can be used to evaluate specific components of Noah-MP and present initial results.
  • Foundational Principles in the Development of AdH-SW3, the Three-Dimensional Shallow Water Hydrodynamics and Transport Module within the Adaptive Hydraulics/Hydrology Model

    Abstract: This report details the design and development of the three-dimensional shallow water hydrodynamics formulation within the Adaptive Hydraulics/Hydrology model (AdH-SW3) for simulation of flow and transport in rivers, estuaries, reservoirs, and other similar hydrologic environments. The report is intended to communicate principles of the model design for the interested and diligent user. The design relies upon several layers of consistency to produce a stable, accurate, and conservative model. The mesh design can handle rapid changes in bathymetry (e.g., steep-sided navigation channels in estuaries) and maintain accuracy in density-driven transport phenomena (e.g., thermal, or saline stratification and intrusion of salinity).
  • Summary of Ground-Based Snow Measurements for the Northeastern United States

    ABSTRACT: Snow is an important resource for both communities and ecosystems of the Northeastern United States. Both flood risk management and water supply forecasts for major municipalities, including New York City, depend on the collection of snowpack information. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to summarize all of the snowpack data from ground-based networks currently available in the Northeast. The collection of snow-depth and snow water equivalent information extends back several decades, and there are over 2,200 active sites across the region. Sites are distributed across the entire range of elevations in the region. The number of locations collecting snow information has increased substantially in the last 20 years, primarily from the expansion of the CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow) network. Our summary of regional snow measurement locations provides a foundation for future studies and analysis, including a template for other regions of the United States.
  • Field Guide to Identifying the Upper Extent of Stream Channels

    ABSTRACT: The upper extent of a channel is a transition zone from the hillslope to the beginning of the stream channel. Accurately and consistently identifying the upper extent of a channel in the field and locating where hillslope processes transition to stream-channel processes can be a difficult task. Physical characteristics located at the beginning of a channel (i.e., channel head), including geomorphic, sediment, and vegetation indicators, can vary significantly across different landscapes in the United States. Remote tools are useful for examining the upper extent of channels, but these remote tools have limitations for identifying the beginning of channels. Even as the resolution of remote data continues to increase, field observations are necessary to validate the remote data on the ground and to accurately and consistently identify and locate the transition from the hillslope to the stream channel. Use of a combination of remote and field evidence is likely the most successful strategy for identifying channel heads. This report presents a case study that demonstrates how a weight-of-evidence approach can combine field and remote evidence to locate the different parts of the transition and ultimately to identify the channel-head location.
  • Channel Assessment Tools for Rapid Watershed Assessment

    Purpose: Existing Delta Headwaters Project (DHP) watershed stabilization studies are focused on restoration and stabilization of degraded stream systems. The original watershed studies formerly under the Demonstration Erosion Control (DEC) Project started in the mid 1980s. The watershed stabilization activities are continuing, and because of the vast number of degraded watersheds and limited amount of yearly funding, there is a need for developing a rapid watershed assessment approach to determine which watersheds to prioritize for further work. The goal of this project is to test the FluvialGeomorph (FG) toolkit to determine if the Rapid Geomorphic Assessment approach can identify channel stability trends in Campbell Creek and its main tributary. The FG toolkit (Haring et al. 2019; Haring et al. 2020) is a new rapid watershed assessment approach using high-resolution terrain data (Light Detection and Ranging [LiDAR]) to support U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) watershed planning. One of the principal goals of the USACE SMART (Specific Measureable Attainable Risk-Informed Timely) Planning is to leverage existing data and resources to complete studies. The FG approach uses existing LiDAR to rapidly assess either reach-specific analysis for smaller more focused studies or larger watersheds or ecosystems. The rapid assessment capability can reduce the time and cost of planning by using existing information to complete a preliminary watershed assessment and provide rapid results regarding where to focus more detailed study efforts.
  • Stormwater Management and Optimization Toolbox

    Abstract: As stormwater regulations for hydrologic and water quality control become increasingly stringent, Department of Defense (DoD) facilities are faced with the daunting task of complying with multiple laws and regulations. This often requires facilities to plan, design, and implement structural best management practices (BMPs) to capture, filter, and/or infiltrate runoff—requirements that can be complicated, contradictory, and difficult to plan. This project demonstrated the Stormwater Management Optimization Toolbox (SMOT), a spreadsheet-based tool that effectively analyzes and plans for compliance to the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 pre-hydrologic conditions through BMP implementation, resulting in potential cost savings by reducing BMP sizes while simultaneously achieving compliance with multiple objectives. SMOT identifies the most cost-effective modeling method based on an installation’s local conditions (soils, rainfall patterns, drainage network, and regulatory requirements). The work first demonstrated that the Model Selection Tool (MST) recommendation accurately results in the minimum BMP cost for 45 facilities of widely varying climatic and regional conditions, and then demonstrated SMOT at two facilities.
  • PUBLICATION NOTICE: Utilizing Stream Flows to Forecast Dredging Requirements

    Abstract: In recent years, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has spent an average of approximately a billion dollars annually for navigation channel maintenance dredging. To execute these funds effectively, USACE districts must determine which navigation channels are most in need of maintenance dredging each year. Traditionally, dredging volume estimates for Operations and Maintenance budget development are based on experiential knowledge and historic averages, with the effects of upstream, precipitation-driven streamflows considered via general-rule approximations. This study uses the Streamflow Prediction Tool, a hydrologic routing model driven by global weather forecast ensembles, and dredging records from the USACE Galveston District to explore relationships between precipitation-driven inland channel flow and subsequent dredged volumes in the downstream coastal channel reaches. Spatially based regression relationships are established between cumulative inland flows and dredged volumes. Results in the test cases of the Houston Ship Channel and the Sabine-Neches Waterway in Texas indicate useful correlations between the computed streamflow volumes and recorded dredged volumes. These relationships are stronger for channel reaches farther inland, upstream of the coastal processes that are not included in the precipitation-driven hydrologic model.
  • PUBLICATION NOTICE: Spatial Analysis of Precipitation and Snow Water Equivalent Extremes for the Columbia River Basin

    Abstract: Recent advances in the spatial statistics of extremes and model calibration were applied to develop and deliver areal-exceedance estimates for precipitation (PREC), by season and duration, and snow water equivalent (SWE), by cool season month and for the water year, for 758 delineated sub-basins of the Columbia River Basin (CRB), which correspond to a new CRB hydrology model watershed delineation. Understanding that future US Army Corps of Engineers, Northwestern Division, mission requirements may change, project execution also included the development and delivery of an application guidance document to credibly compute areal-exceedance estimates, including uncertainty, for PREC or SWE for any arbitrary area within the CRB. R, a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics (https://www.r-project.org/), and QGIS, a free and open source geographic information system (https://qgis.org/en/site/index.html), were the primary tools used for product development and delivery. The following R software packages were primarily used during project execution: evd, Glmnet, maps, raster, rgdal, SDMTools, sp, and SpatialExtremes.
  • PUBLICATION NOTICE: Rapid Watershed Assessment Tools Based on High-Resolution Terrain Data

    Abstract: The goal of this project was to develop rapid watershed assessment methods to estimate channel stability and sediment transport potential using high resolution terrain data (Light Detection and Ranging-LiDAR) to support US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) watershed planning. This project developed a suite of tools based on advanced remote sensing technologies (LiDAR) that use off-the-shelf, high-resolution terrain data to rapidly assess watershed condition at the channel, floodplain, valley, and watershed scales. The widespread availability of high-resolution terrain data provides an opportunity to assess watershed conditions in great detail over large spatial extents. For this project, a channel assessment method was developed using a new LiDAR Hydraulic Geometry Relationships (HGR)-based approach for developing regional curves.