Impacts of Climate and Land Use Changes on Water Provisioning in the Lake Okeechobee Watershed

Authors: Shiyu Gong*, University of Cincinnati, Xi Chen, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science, McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, University of Cincinnati, Susanna Tong, Professor, Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science, McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, University of Cincinnati
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Water Resources and Hydrology, Land Use and Land Cover Change
Keywords: water quality, land management, future climate
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


As the largest lake in southeast USA, Lake Okeechobee is vital to the state of Florida, which is however experiencing eutrophication issues due to excessive nutrient loads from upstream. This study seeks to examine water yield and nutrient transport under the impacts of future climate and land use changes in the Lake Okeechobee Watershed (LOW) by using a spatially-explicit ecosystem services model InVEST. We choose IPCC B1 future climate scenario with the assumption of a future with more sustainable development. According to the modeling results, the future LOW water yield significantly decreases because of the lower precipitation under B1 scenario compared with current precipitation data collected in the study area. When it comes to future LULC changes, this study mainly focuses on the urbanization in the Orlando area and wetland recovery. Based on the results, fast urbanization increases the phosphorus load to Lake Okeechobee due to low permeability of urban area. Also, our simulated wetland recovery scenario shows significant reduction of the amount of phosphorus loads to Lake Okeechobee. By modelling the human-water system, this research assesses and quantifies the environmental benefits of conservative watershed management schemes under changing climate.

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