Water We Drinking? Mapping Mitigation Sites in Ralston Reservoir, Colorado

EarthzineDEVELOP 2015 Summer VPS, DEVELOP Virtual Poster Session, Responding to Hydrologic Disasters

This is an article from the Summer 2015 VPS. For more VPS articles, click here.


2014 RUSLE risk assessment map. High risk is indicated in red. Image Credit: Colorado Water Resources II Team

Category: Responding to Hydrologic Disasters

Project Team: Colorado Water Resources II

Team Location: U.S. Geological Survey at Colorado State University – Fort Collins, Colorado


Tyler M. Rhodes

Amy Phillips

Romina Gotzmann

Rebekke Muench

Jared Ryks


Dr. Kenton Ross (NASA DEVELOP National Program)


The September 2013 flooding in Denver, Colorado, characterized as a ‰ÛÏone in 1,000‰Û rainfall event, resulted in excessive runoff and sedimentation, which altered surrounding watershed structure and hydrology. This flooding event and the uncharacteristic weather in spring 2015 prompted a study by the NASA DEVELOP team to address community concerns regarding water quality. DEVELOP worked with Denver Water, the city’s primary water supplier, to determine erosion mitigation sites in the Ralston Creek Watershed using the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE). This model combines rainfall, slope, land cover, and conservation practices to predict soil loss. This research integrated land cover maps derived from NASA’s Landsat 8 with a high resolution airborne LiDAR digital elevation model, which provided Denver Water with a fine scale map detailing potential mitigation sites. Mitigation sites were determined based on RUSLE outputs and accessibility.

Previous story / Next story