Journal or Book Title
Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Riparian buffers and constructed wetlands are best management practices (BMPs) that can improve water quality. However, these practices are not equally effective in all locations. Our objective was to develop maps to help plan the placement of BMPs in a watershed for water quality benefits. Tipton Creek, a 49,000-acre Iowa watershed, provided a case study. Buffer-placement maps, developed from analysis of 30 m (100 ft) elevation data, identified riparian locations with large wetness indices, where buffer vegetation could intercept sheet/rill flows from significant upslope areas. These sites were numerous, typically small (<200 m in length) and well distributed spatially. However results showed 57% of riparian grid cells would receive runoff from less than 0.4 ha (1 ac). Candidate wetland sites were also mapped by applying interpretive and automated techniques to terrain analyses results. A team of conservation professionals evaluated the planning utility of these maps in the field through consensus-seeking discussion. Buffer maps highlighted areas where, team members agreed, perennial vegetation could effectively intercept runoff and/or manage seasonal wetness. The review team also located three feasible wetland sites, which were all identified by an automated technique showing 12 candidate sites. The methods only required public data and should be applicable to other watersheds.
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Tomer, Mark D.; James, D. E.; and Isenhart, Thomas M., "Optimizing the Placement of Riparian Practices in a Watershed using Terrain Analysis" (2003). Natural Resource Ecology and Management Publications. 177.