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Forest Service Water Erosion Prediction Project (FS WEPP)

January, 1996

Forest erosion can lead to topsoil loss, and also to damaging deposits of sediment in aquatic ecosystems. For this reason, forest managers must be able to estimate the erosion potential of both planned management activities and catastrophic events, in order to decide where to use limited funds to focus erosion control efforts. To meet this need, scientists from RMRS (and collaborators) have spent over a decade developing a suite of online tools that can be used to predict erosion potential of forest alterations such as road building, forest management, and wildfire, as part of the Forest Service–Water Erosion Prediction Project (FS-WEPP). FS-WEPP is being continually refined, improved, and expanded upon to increase its usefulness, and to enable managers to run predictive watershed models for better land management decision-making and more desirable outcomes.

Tools available through Forest Service WEPP:

  • WEPP:Road for predicting erosion from roads—a chronic source of forest sediment—and estimating the average annual sediment delivery of a road or road network.
  • Erosion Risk Management Tool (ERMiT) for estimating the amount of post-fire erosion and evaluating the effect of different erosion control treatments options.
  • Disturbed WEPP for modeling erosion from many disturbed forest and rangeland erosion conditions (such as management activities), including low and high severity burns.
  • Fuel Management (FuME) for synthesizing multiple WEPP runs associated with fuel management as described under the Disturbed WEPP applications.
  • Peak Flow Calculator for combining output from ERMiT runs or from a runoff amount specified by the user with small watershed characteristics to estimate the peak flow.
  • The Rock:Clime Interface for building weather input files for WEPP Windows using a detailed database of monthly rainfall distributions.
  • Tahoe Basin interface, a customized version of Disturbed WEPP that contains Tahoe-specific soils, for predicting runoff, erosion, phosphorus, and fine sediment.
  • WEPP Online GIS Watershed Interface (in development) for predicting watershed-level erosion on any PC with access to Google Maps.
  • Water and Sediment Prediction program (WASP; in development) for aiding users in evaluating the impacts of forest management on water yield.


Miller, Sue ; Elliot, William J. ; Robichaud, Pete R. ; Foltz, Randy ; Flanagan, Dennis ; Brooks, Erin , 2014
Wang, Li ; Wu, Joan Q. ; Elliot, William J. ; Dun, Shuhui ; Lapin, Sergey ; Fiedler, Fritz R. ; Flanagan, Dennis C. , 2010
Elliot, William J. ; Brooks, Erin ; Link, Tim ; Miller, Ina Sue S. , 2010
Dun, Shuhui ; Wu, Joan Q. ; Elliot, William J. ; Robichaud, Pete R. ; Flanagan, Dennis C. ; Frankenberger, James R. ; Brown, Robert E. ; Xu, Arthur C. , 2009
Elliot, William J. ; Miller, Ina Sue S. ; Hall, David , 2007
Covert, S. A. ; Robichaud, P. R. ; Elliot, W. J. ; Link, T. E. , 2005
Elliot, William J. ; Foltz, Randy B. , 2003

Project Contact: 

Principal Investigators:
Randy B. Foltz - Moscow Forestry Sciences Lab
David E. Hall - Moscow Forestry Sciences Lab
Paul G. Swetik - Moscow Forestry Sciences Lab