Water Quality



Town brook Research Watershed

Townbrook LocationIntroduction
Correctly identifying hydrological active areas (HAAs) limits the interaction between pollutant source areas and transport pathways and is a key step protecting water quality. The influence of HAAs in terms of runoff source areas is demonstrated for phosphorus (P) transport at the Town Brook Research Watershed in the Catskill Mountains region of New York State (Lyon et al., 2006a). However, quantification of where and when HAAs occur is difficult because little is known about the spatial and temporal behavior of these regions.  Geostatistical methods can be used to characterize event-based and seasonal changes in the spatial structure of the shallow water table, which influences the spatial pattern of surface saturation and related runoff generation.  The shallow water table was monitored in the Town Brook Research Watershed for a 120m x 180m near-stream region at 44 sampling locations on 15-minute intervals (Lyon et al., 2006b; 2006c).  Indicator kriging incorporating both the short and long time interval structure (hard and soft data, respectively) provided better representations of surface saturation per rainfall event and captured significant, time-variant patterns in the shallow water table.

To effectively limit the interaction between pollutants and HAAs, these quantifications of HAAs must be presented in a useable manner for watershed managers. Displaying these HAAs on the landscape is still in its infancy owing to the fact that geographical information systems (GIS) are not very user friendly. To this end, we have developed an internet-based tool to locate HAAs that is coupled with the increasingly popular Google Earth software package.  Employing real-time data, tools of this type could improve efficiency in watershed management by correctly locating HAAs for implementation of best management practices to help in the mitigation of nonpoint source pollution.

Google Earth ScreenshotDownloads*
*If you have trouble viewing these movies, try downloading and saving them locally, then launching them from your hard drive.

Google Earth Town Brook Interactive Demo (WinZipped .kmz file, 219 kb) This tool allows the user to interact with a Town Brook runoff dataset for use with Google Earth free mapping software.

Google Earth Video of Town Brook Watershed (Lyon_ge_vid9.avi, 30.6 mb) This is a video demonstrating the zoom and fly-through capabilities around the Town Brook Watershed without having to download the Google Earth software.

Precipitation, Streamflow, and Watershed Saturation movie (running_100.avi, 12.7 mb) This movie displays rainfall, runoff, and probability of saturation in the Town Brook Watershed over a summer growing period, from April through July.

Recent Publications

Lyon, S. W., A. J. Lembo, M. T. Walter, and T. S. Steenhuis. "Defining Probability of Saturation With Indicator Kriging on Hard and Soft Data." Advances in Water Resources 29, no. 2 (2006): 181-93 full text

Lyon, S.W., J. Seibert, A.J. Lembo, M.T. Walter, T.S. Steenhuis. 2006. Geostatistical investigation into the temporal evolution of spatial structure in a shallow water table. Hydrol. Earth Sys. Sci. 10: 113-125. full text

Lyon, S.W., M. McHale, M.T. Walter, T.S. Steenhuis. 2006. Effect of runoff generation mechanism on estimating land use control of P concentrations. J. Am. Water. Resour. Assoc.

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