Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2012MI205B

Spatially distributed modeling of water and pollutant transport in the Great Lakes watersheds

Institute: Michigan
Year Established: 2012 Start Date: 2012-03-01 End Date: 2013-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $15,677 Total Non-Federal Funds: $58,812

Principal Investigators: Chansheng He

Abstract: Contaminated sediments, urban runoff and storm sewers, and agricultural nonpoint sources have been identified as the primary sources of pollutants that impair Great Lakes shoreline waters by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA 2002). Up until recently, however, there are no integrated, spatially distributed, physically-based watershed-scale hydrological water quality models available to evaluate movement of materials (sediments, animal and human wastes, agricultural chemicals, and nutrients, etc.) in both surface and subsurface waters in the Great Lakes watersheds. As a result, little comprehensive research has been done to systematically model the spatial and temporal distributions of point and nonpoint source pollution of water quality in Great Lakes watersheds. In recent years, the Great Lakes Environmental Research laboratory (GLERL) and Western Michigan University (WMU) have been working together to develop a spatially distributed, physically-based watershed model, the Distributed Large Basin Runoff Model (DLBRM) to simulates both point and nonpoint source pollution in the Great Lakes watersheds. We propose in this study to use DLBRM to simulate the transport and distributions of those materials and evaluate their impacts on water quality in Great Lakes watersheds to support water resources and ecosystem management. Multiple databases of land use/cover, soil, digital elevation model (DEM), hydrology , and agricultural management will be acquired from different governmental agencies and subsequently processed and analyzed to derive input variables to the Distributed Large Basin Runoff Model (DLBRM). Real-world information including in situ data on some of these materials will be collected, processed, and analyzed to support calibration and simulations of the DLBRM for documented cases of chemical and sediment movement. The simulation results will be visualized in both map and animation format to facilitate spatial and temporal analysis of the watershed hydrology and water quality.