Suspended sediment and nutrients following forest management activities or wildfires are transported to streams and lakes via surface runoff and are a major threat to water quality. Land and water managers resort to hydrologic models to test hypotheses that can help them make informed decisions to minimize disturbances and protect water resources. We present applications of an online interface, WEPPcloud, for the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model as a pre- and post-disturbance management tool to model various gauged and ungauged forested watersheds throughout the western U.S. We compare simulated streamflow, sediment, and phosphorus to observations at USGS gauging stations and assess the accuracy of the online interface with minimal or no calibration. Specifically, we present modeling results from 28 relatively undisturbed forested watersheds in the states of California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Across all watersheds, the NSEs based on the daily streamflow values, were in the range of 0.43 to 0.64 indicating satisfactory agreement between modeled and observed values. Similarly, annual average NSE for sediment yield was 0.61, while for phosphorus it was 0.75, 0.71, and 0.66, for total, particulate, and soluble reactive phosphorus, respectively. Additionally, we demonstrate the utility of the WEPPcloud interface as a tool to compare model results for ungauged watersheds from various disturbed conditions including prescribed fire, thinning, and wildfire to undisturbed model results to better understand the effects of forest management and wildfires on water quality and quantity.
Dobre, Mariana; Srivastava, Anurag; Lew, Roger; Deval, Chinmay; Brooks, Erin S.; Elliot, William J.; Robichaud, Peter R. 2022. WEPPcloud: An online watershed-scale hydrologic modeling tool. Part II. Model performance assessment and applications to forest management and wildfires. Journal of Hydrology. 610: 127776.