State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project Id: 2008KS68B
Title: An Analysis of Sedimentation Reduction Strategies for Tuttle Creek Lake
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2008
End Date: 2/28/2011
Congressional District: 2nd
Focus Categories: Sediments, Economics, Water Supply
Keywords: Tuttle Creek Lake, Decision Support System, SWAT, Economic Analysis Reservoir Sedimentation, Dredging
Principal Investigator: Mankin, Kyle
Federal Funds: $ 0
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 0
Abstract: Erosion of cropland and streambanks in Kansas not only causes significant damage to fields and streams, but also results in sediment accumulations in downstream reservoirs. This poses a huge environmental and economic concern for both the stakeholders that live within the watersheds affected by sedimentation and the state of Kansas as a whole. Soil erosion has several offsite consequences. It can result in reduced water storage capacity in reservoirs which then impacts public water supply, flood control capability, and water availability for downstream navigation. Suspended soil particles can affect the viability of aquatic life, reduce the recreational value of lakes and waterways, and increase operational costs to power plants, city water supplies, and navigation. Sediment can cause extensive damage to aquatic life, shorten the useful life of reservoirs, and clog navigation channels (Clark et al. 1985). Sediment can fill drainage channels such as ditches and culverts, thus causing localized flooding if the sediment is not removed. Soil erosion causes loss of cropland particularly along stream and river banks and lost soil productivity on crop and pasture land. Erosion of cropland from high-flow events in floodplains can also disrupt farming operations.

This project will focus on the Tuttle Creek Watershed. Our goal is to quantify relationships between water quality and the selection, timing and distribution of BMPs within the watershed impacted by erosion and sedimentation. The project will integrate a geographic information system (GIS) based model, reservoir rehabilitation management strategies, statistical analyses of historic watershed and water quality data, with a stakeholder-driven management and BMP decision process, using water-quality data for validation. An economic analysis of alternative sedimentation reducing strategies will be combined with the modeling. This will grant decision-makers a better insight into the cost implications associated with achieving various water quality levels and sedimentation reduction goals.

Among the principal benefits of this approach is that the Tuttle Creek Lake watershed stakeholders as well as the state agency stakeholders will have a better understanding of (1) the sources and rates of soil erosion; (2) the different options available for reducing (or removing) reservoir sedimentation; and (3) the environmental and economic impacts of alternative watershed protection and reservoir rehabilitation management strategies. This watershed modeling / economic analysis project will provide the most comprehensive case-study evaluation of a watershed and reservoir impacted by erosion and sedimentation. The results from this study will be useful to stakeholders and decision-makers at the field, watershed, and state level.

Progress/Completion Report, 2008, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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