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Examine the Impact of Land Use and Land Cover Changes on the Hydrology of a Watershed in the Midwestern United States Using the HEC-HMS Model

Authors: Shunfu Hu*, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Prasanna Shrestha, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Topics: Environmental Science, Water Resources and Hydrology, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: Land Use and Land Cover Change, Watershed, Hydrological Modeling, HEC-HMS
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Rapid economic growth and urbanization can cause land use changes, which could replace forest and agricultural lands in different parts of the United States. Intensive land use change can occur due to urbanization, increasing impervious surfaces thus altering the hydrological regimes in watersheds. The objective of this project is to study how changes in land use and land cover (LULC) can impact the hydrological processes in the Richland Creek Watershed (RCW) located in Metro St. Louis area.
A rainfall-runoff simulation was done using Hydrologic Engineering Center- Hydrologic Modelling System (HEC-HMS) and GIS extension Geospatial Hydrologic Modeling Extension (HEC-GeoHMS). The simulated hydrograph obtained from HEC-HMS was calibrated and validated by adjustment of parameters for four processes. There has been a 2.86% increase in impervious surface and peak flow for calibrated month was high for 2011 compared to 2001.

Correlation coefficient and Nash- Sutcliffe Efficiency were greater than 0.5 for all calibrations and validations which showed a satisfactory performance of the model. Percent error in peak flow was little over 10% due to a flash rain pattern for July. These evaluation criteria show good performance of the hydrological model. So, the developed model for 2001 and 2011 can be applied for Richland Creek Watershed to assess impacts of land use and land cover changes. This research enhanced the understanding of the interactions between land use and land cover changes and hydrological regimes in RCW. This can be further used by policy makers for predicting flood events and plans for preparedness.

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