Effects of Land Use Change on Sediment Yield in Bell Watershed, Kentucky from 1992 to 2011

Authors: Aman Bhatta*, Kentucky State University, Buddhi Gyawali, Kentucky State University
Topics: Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: Hydrologic Response Unit, Land Use, Sediment Yield, Soil and Water Assessment Tool
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Taylor, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Surface runoff and erosion in combination with increasing human population causes more disturbance to chemical and physical properties of soil resulting in increased non-point source water pollution. The sediment yield and discharge of nutrients through runoff and erosion into water sources degrades water quality. This study focused on observing the change in sediment yields resulted from land use change over the period of 1992 to 2011 in forest dominated bell watershed. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), a popular watershed scale model, was used for quantifying the sediment yield from different sub-basins of the watershed located in Bell County, Kentucky. ArcSWAT, an extension of GIS, delineates a watershed and small Hydrologic Response Units (HRU), which are small, identical land units with same land use and soil type. National Land Cover Database obtained from the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC), Digital Elevation Model (DEM) from United States Geological Survey (USGS) National Map Viewer, sediment yield, and daily flow of water measured at USGS gauge stations, soil data from web soil survey portal, and weather data from USGS land-based stations and global SWAT weather database were obtained for the calibration and validation of the SWAT model. The model was used to simulate the runoff and sediment yield for each HRU and sub-basin. Preliminary results show that, as expected, sediment yield has increased from 1992 to 2011 with the increase in percent coverage of urban area and decrease in forested area.

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