Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    Impervious land cover was the choice for many urban development projects in order to accelerate runoff and reduce the depth and duration of local flooding, however this led to increases in downstream runoff characterized by large, flashy peak flows. Urban ecosystem restoration now involves slowing down urban runoff to restore local hydrology with green infrastructure, which can be installed as single parcels along runoff flow paths; green infrastructure essentially increases the surface roughness, delaying the speed of runoff compared with relatively smooth impervious surfaces. In this study, we present a runoff routing model that inter-compares runoff from different land parcel surfaces with different roughness to help communities quantify how land parcel restoration impacts runoff timing and peak magnitude. Our modeling experiments contrast the timing and magnitude of floods for discrete runoff pathways composed of parcels with different cover types, converting rough rural land cover to smooth impervious cover as well as the restorative impact of relocating impervious area further from the water body or installing green infrastructure along the flow path. We demonstrate how the model is calibrated to match observed runoff or an entire watershed, and how the model can then be used to estimate how land cover changes will affect runoff timing and magnitude. This study introduces how a simple model to represent land parcel surface roughness and stormwater runoff timing and magnitude, allowing for informed watershed restoration planning, urban planning and placement of green infrastructure.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Yang, Yang; Endreny, Theodore A.; Nowak, David J. 2015. Simulating the effect of flow path roughness to examine how green infrastructure restores urban runoff timing and magnitude. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 14(2): 361-367.


    Google Scholar


    Advection-diffusion equation, Flood, Low impact development, Urbanization, Urban planning

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page