Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2012TN92B

Determining Channel Protection Flows in Urban Watersheds Through Effective Strategies for Stormwater Management and Stream Restoration

Institute: Tennessee
Year Established: 2012 Start Date: 2012-03-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $30,245 Total Non-Federal Funds: $74,189

Principal Investigators: John Schwartz, John Schwartz

Abstract: Many municipalities and states throughout the country are struggling with how best to comply with regulations stemming from the Clean Water Act and prevent further degradation of local water resources. A large body of relatively recent research has demonstrated the detrimental impacts of urbanization. Urbanization causes widespread changes to stream hydrology and biological impairment due to excessive instream suspended sediment, among other impacts. Increased volume and rate of runoff has led to stream channel degradation in many communities. In-stream erosion contributes more sediment to streams than upland erosion in many cases. However, the linkages between urbanization, stormwater management policy, stream channel geometry and channel degradation are still poorly understood over the range of watershed settings. This research project is proposed to help clarify the relationships between urbanization, geomorphology, and stormwater management and policy. The complex interactions of these factors will be examined at several pilot streams near Knoxville, Tennessee. The pilot streams will be monitored to calibrate hydrologic models, and to support the use of EPAs SUSTAIN model. The understanding gained through this field and modeling effort will be used to create simple numeric guidance that can be used to set channel protection policy, design site-level stormwater controls for channel protection, and create sound watershed TMDL plans to protect streams from impairment. The data created through this project can be adapted for direct use in channel protection efforts throughout the nation.