A GIS/Simulation Framework for Assessing Change in Water Yield over Large Spatial Scales

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Recent legislation to,initiate vegetation management in the Central Sierra hydrologic region of California includes a focus on corresponding changes in water yield. This served as the impetus for developing a combined geographic information system (GIS) and simulation assessment framework. Using the existing vegetation density condition, together with proposed rules for thinning to reduce fire risk, a set of simulation model inputs were generated for examining the impact of the thinning scenario on water yield. The approach allows results to be expressed as the mean and standard deviation of change in water yield for each 1 km2 map cell that is ... continued below

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Graham, R.; Hargrove, W.W.; Huff, D.D.; Nikolov, N. & Tharp, M.L. November 13, 1999.

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Recent legislation to,initiate vegetation management in the Central Sierra hydrologic region of California includes a focus on corresponding changes in water yield. This served as the impetus for developing a combined geographic information system (GIS) and simulation assessment framework. Using the existing vegetation density condition, together with proposed rules for thinning to reduce fire risk, a set of simulation model inputs were generated for examining the impact of the thinning scenario on water yield. The approach allows results to be expressed as the mean and standard deviation of change in water yield for each 1 km2 map cell that is treated. Values for groups of cells are aggregated for typical watershed units using area-weighted averaging. Wet, dry and average precipitation years were simulated over a large region. Where snow plays an important role in hydrologic processes, the simulated change in water yield was less than 0.5% of expected annual runoff for a typical water shed. Such small changes would be undetectable in the field using conventional stream flow analysis. These results suggest that use of water yield increases to help justify forest-thinning activities or offset their cost will be difficult.

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OSTI as DE00014604

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  • Report No.: ORNL/CP-105000
  • Grant Number: AC05-96OR22464
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 14604
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc626603

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  • November 13, 1999

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  • June 16, 2015, 7:43 a.m.

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  • Jan. 22, 2016, 11:12 a.m.

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Graham, R.; Hargrove, W.W.; Huff, D.D.; Nikolov, N. & Tharp, M.L. A GIS/Simulation Framework for Assessing Change in Water Yield over Large Spatial Scales, article, November 13, 1999; Tennessee. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc626603/: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.