This is an article from the Summer 2015 VPS. For more VPS articles, click here.
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
Dr. Kenton Ross (NASA DEVELOP National Program)
The September 2013 flooding in Denver, Colorado, characterized as a ÛÏone in 1,000Û 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.