Modeling Stream Flow using SWAT with Different Soil and Land Cover Geospatial Datasets

G.C. Heathman and M. Larose (USA)


SWAT, Hydrologic modeling, GIS, SSURGO, STATSGO, NASS, GAP


The integration of geographical information systems (GIS) and hydrologic models provides the user the ability to simulate watershed scale processes within a spatially digitized computer based environment. Soil type and land cover data are essential GIS data layers used in a wide array of government and private sector activities, including inventory, management, monitoring, and modeling. This investigation was conducted to evaluate the use of SSURGO and STATSGO soil classification systems and the National Agricultural Statistics Survey (NASS) and Gap Analysis Project (GAP) land cover geographic data sets in the watershed scale model referred to as the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). Performance of the model was tested on the Cedar Creek Watershed in northeastern Indiana, one of twelve benchmark watersheds in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS) national Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). Model performance of the annual and monthly stream flow response in SWAT was assessed using the Root Mean Square Error (RMSE), coefficient of determination (R2 ) and the Nash-Sutcliffe Efficiency coefficient (ENS). Results of this study show that the estimation of stream flow by the SWAT model is most sensitive to land cover input data sets.

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