Improvement in the accuracy and speed of riparinan vegetation simulation

Project ID: 1781
Principal Investigator: Jianchun Huang
Research Topic: Ecosystem Needs
Funded Fiscal Years: 2017, 2018 and 2019
Keywords: None

Research Question

Can we simulate the riparian response from large scale river restoration projects accurately? Can we speed the simulation of water and vegetation for application to large rivers at the level of precision necessary for interpretation of results?
The proposed research aims to develop a reach scale numerical model to simulate long-term vegetation establishment, growth, and desiccation while avoiding the limitation of the 1D model that can only represent the vegetation at limited locations. The model will bridge the gap between a 1D numerical model that is over simplified to cover a reach as long as 100 miles over decades and a vegetation map that needs detailed information regarding each vegetation zone.

Need and Benefit

Riparian vegetation influences various ecological functions. Riparian vegetation supports healthy aquatic and terrestrial wildlife and has been critical in efforts to restore threatened or endangered fish and riparian wildlife populations. For example, foliage in tree crowns forms a dense canopy that shades the river and keeps the water temperature low in the summer; fallen leaves feed insects, which, in turn, provide food for fish, and large woody debris recruited through lateral migration or delivered from the adjacent hillslopes provide refuge areas for fish.
The current SRH-1DV developed at the Sedimentation and River Hydraulics Group simulates the vegetation establishment, growth, and desiccation at each station (point) in the cross section. The model has been an effective tool for analyzing vegetation coverage and response to changed conditions from alternative flow management scenarios.

Contributing Partners

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Research Products

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Last Updated: 4/4/17