Assessing the Impact of Land-Use Land-Cover Change on Stream Water and Sediment Yields at a Watershed Level Using SWAT


Flint River watershed is located in northern Alabama and southern Tennessee, USA and is home to several species of rare, threatened, or endangered plants and animals in a rapidly urbanizing area. Dominant land uses are forest and agricultural, with row crops and livestock production as major farm enterprises. Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), a deterministic hydrologic model that can predict hydrologic conditions over various temporal and spatial scales, was used to simulate the hydrologic response of the watershed to land-use/land cover (LULC) change. Analysis between observed and predicted stream flow demonstrated that the initial SWAT model run requires calibration of stream parameters in order to give a more accurate output from the model. The calibration was performed with sequential uncertainty fitting, ver. 2 (SUFI-2) in the SWAT Calibration Uncertainty Program. After calibration, stream sediment yield values were compared by sub-basin between a current (2001) and three future (2030) land use scenarios, in order to identify areas in the watershed that were the most susceptible to increased sediment yield in the future. The future growth scenarios (smart, plan and sprawl) were created using the ArcGIS extension, Prescott Spatial Growth Model. Sub-basins with the greatest sensitivity for larger sediment yields were identified and prioritized for conservation efforts.

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Tadesse, W. , Whitaker, S. , Crosson, W. and Wilson, C. (2015) Assessing the Impact of Land-Use Land-Cover Change on Stream Water and Sediment Yields at a Watershed Level Using SWAT. Open Journal of Modern Hydrology, 5, 68-85. doi: 10.4236/ojmh.2015.53007.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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