Technology Transfer: Developing Tools for Efficient Handling of Data for Hydraulic Modeling and Habitat Analysis
How can computer programs developed for processing hydraulic modeling results and conducting habitat analyses be packaged into tools that will improve workflow processes?
Need and Benefit
NEED: In order to meet the need for hydraulic and sediment modeling and habitat assessment as a part of project
scope, restoration offices are often budgeting a significant amount of resources to be spent on analyses that rely
largely on methodology that is consistent from project to project. There are very few readily developed tools available
to directly aid the habitat analysis process. Those that are available, such as the North Arrow Research Habitat Model
(http://habitat.northarrowresearch.com/) have been cumbersome to use with tight constraints on input data. Other
solutions, such as using geospatial tools like ArcGIS directly, offer great flexibility in analysis, but are slow and
impractical for the magnitude of data associated with large projects. The result is that restoration practitioners are
required to become highly proficient in geospatial software and computer programming, or engage an engineer that is,
in order to handle processing of hydraulic and sediment data or conduct habitat analyses. The workflow demands
many hours of labor time, particularly in cases where many variables (e.g., design alternatives) or environmental
conditions (e.g., restoration flow rates) are being evaluated. Because the underlying methodology of typical habitat
analyses are analogous from project-to-project, the workflow as described is inherently inefficient.
BENEFIT: The benefit is in finding ways to dramatically improve the efficiency of workflow processes, thereby
decreasing costs associated with common procedures that share relevancy across a broad range of project types. It
is anticipated that using specially developed analysis tools for handling hydraulic and habitat data will cut labor costs
by approximately 50-80% relative to either writing computer code or using ArcGIS spatial capabilities.
URGENCY: Reclamation sits at the forefront of many large-scale hydraulic, sediment, and habitat studies of river and
reservoir environments throughout the Western States. As certain types of analyses become standard practice
among these projects, Reclamation has a responsibility to operate efficiently and effectively. Without continued efforts
to evaluate ways to improve workflow efficiency, valuable financial resources will be wasted.
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