Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Assessment of Erosion Hotspots in a Watershed: Integrating the WEPP Model and GIS in a Case Study of the Peruvian Andes.

Consuelo Romero and Guillermo Baigorria. Univ of Florida, Frazier Rogers Hall, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Gainesville, FL 32611

This paper presents a study case in assessment of erosion hotspots in an Andean watershed. To this, we made use of an interface called Geospatial Modelling of Soil Erosion (GEMSE): a tool that integrates Geographical Information Systems (GIS) with the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model. Its advantages are: (i) it is independent of any special GIS software used to create maps and to visualize the results; (ii) the results can be used to produce response surfaces relating outputs (e.g. soil loss, runoff) with simple inputs (e.g. climate, soils, topography); (iii) the scale, resolution and area covered by the different layers can be different among them, which facilitates the use of different sources of information. The objective of this paper is to show GEMSE’s performance in a specific case study of soil erosion in La Encañada watershed (Peru) where the hillslope version of WEPP has been previously validated. Resulting runoff and soil loss maps show the spatial distribution of these processes. Though these maps do not give the total runoff and soil loss at the watershed level, they can be used to identify hotspots that will aid decision makers to make recommendations and plan actions for soil and water conservation.