State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project Id: 2010VT50B
Title: Advanced Computational Methods for Designing Stormwater Management Practices
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2010
End Date: 2/28/2011
Congressional District: First
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Sediments, Hydrology
Keywords: BMP, Watershed, Stormwater, Sediment, Multiobjective Optimization, Evolutionary Algorithms
Principal Investigator: Eppstein, Margaret J
Federal Funds: $ 31,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 50,883
Abstract: High-levels of phosphorus loading to Lake Champlain have been linked to algal blooms and to eutrophication of sections of the lake. Previous research suggests that runoff from impervious surfaces in developed areas around the lake have accelerated runoff and increased sediment and phosphorus loading, leaving many watersheds impaired and the Lake threatened. There is, therefore, considerable interest in designing cost-effective strategies for reducing sediment and phosphorus loading. In addition, it will be important to design strategies that are robust to anticipated changes in precipitation patterns resulting from global climate change. To this end, we are integrating a process-based hydrologic model into a multi-scale, multi-objective evolutionary algorithm in order to evolve populations of potential watershed management practices. The solutions along the resulting Pareto front will enable watershed managers to assess the trade-offs between cost, effectiveness, and uncertainty when selecting best management practices (BMPs) for watershed management. We will also do a nonlinear analysis of characteristics of solutions along and orthogonal to the Pareto front in order to try to identify patterns from which we could extract fundamental design principles that would allow for direct design of effective solutions. We expect that results from this research will contribute to the understanding of watersheds as complex systems and will provide useful information to managers and policy makers who must decide how to allocate scarce resources for stormwater management most effectively.

Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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