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SWAT Analysis on Fireside Farm

Authors: Ahna Knudsen*, Clark University
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: hydrology, GIS, agriculture, permaculture
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Hydrology is an essential component of any landscape, especially small permaculture farms. It is determinant of ecosystems’ characteristics and capacity for production (Falk 2013). Resilient hydrological practices are conducive to a more stable future. Global climate change is predicted to disrupt local microclimates and heighten land degradation (IPCC 2019). This poses challenges for water resources and management especially within the agriculture sector. Within recent years, Hurricane Michael caused storm surge flooding in North Carolina (Beven et al. 2019). Threats of climate disaster create vulnerability and uncertainty for farmers. My research is an in depth, small-scale analysis of Fireside Farm, a permaculture farm located in Orange County, NC. The farm has experienced damaging effects of climate change including flooding and topsoil loss. The research serves to answer questions concerning the farmer. How can resilience be strengthened to stabilize the farm in a climate crisis, more narrowly, where can a dam be built to catch and store water? The analysis of resilience is grounded in principles of permaculture and the technological analysis is performed with GIS. I utilize the Soil and Water Assessment Tool, SWAT, in order to conduct a hydrological analysis of the farm. It is capable of modeling surface and groundwater which is insightful for dam construction and other water and land management practices. Components of the model include data on elevation, land use, soils, weather, and river basins. The results are to be shared with Fireside Farm and utilized for decision making and educational events at the farm.

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