The NCED Watershed Program (DWIP) - Watersheds capture not only the rivers and streams navigating through the landscape - they capture the landscape itself. The NCED Watershed program aims to discover and advance the fundamental relations needed to predict landscape evolution and to model the coupling of ecosystem, landscape, and land-use dynamics.
In the Desktop Watersheds Integrated Program, research is focused through exploiting high-resolution digital topographic data to advance hypotheses, guide field work, and test theories. Combining digital environmental data (topography, vegetation, precipitation, runoff, etc.) with research showing how local environmental properties are controlled by drainage basin structure, we propose such data can be used to help predict such things as landslide locations, streambed grain size, algae abundance, and food web interactions. Such predictions can used to guide fieldwork, transforming it from simple data gathering or monitoring to hypothesis-testing.
We work to develop quantitative expressions for the fundamental processes and dynamic interactions of water, sediment, and biota that are involved in landscape evolution. For a list and summary of current projects, please download NCED's 2011 Watershed Project Report [PDF]
Watersheds software resources:
Description:NCED researchers have worked in close collaboration with Stillwater Sciences to produce a geomorphically based fish population model for salmon. Dubbed “Ripple,” the digital terrain-based model provides estimations of fish populations throughout a watershed channel network. Ripple was released to the public in July 2008 with Coho Salmon as the modeled species. Since then, the model has been downloaded by graduate student classes and provides a rapid, spatially explicit assessment of possible factors limiting salmon populations from a minimum of data. In the last year, NCED and Stillwater have added Spring run Chinook to the modeled species. NCED partner Stillwater Sciences has applied Ripple to investigate the effects of stream temperature and large woody debris on Coho populations in Rock Creek, Oregon. Stillwater Sciences has also used Ripple in Lagunitas Creek and Pescadero Creek, California, and in the Tonsina River of Alaska to guide field investigations. NCED is now migrating the model to the web, which will greatly increase its accessibility and free the model from requiring a license for ArcGIS.
Dowload: Ripple software and documentation available here
Geomorphologically Relevant Image Processing: Today’s high resolution topography data presents new opportunities for geomorphologic research in the area of environmental prediction and hazard assessment. To use this data for such research, NCED scientists created a new computational tool: GeoNet. GeoNet extracts channels and channel networks from high resolution digital elevation data. During the extraction process, GeoNet incorporates nonlinear filtering, for the initial preprocessing of data, and energy minimization principles, for feature extraction. The use of nonlinear filtering, with a variable diffusion coefficient, achieves noise removal (in low gradient areas) and edge enhancement (in high gradient areas, ie, feature boundaries). After this preprocessing, GeoNet extracts channels as geodesics—lines that minimize a cost function, which is based on the fundamental geomorphologic characteristics of channels, such as flow accumulation and curvature. Right now, GeoNet performs only channel extractions. However, by varying the cost function, future versions of GeoNet will allow users to select other geomorphic features of interest, such as landslides, service roads, terraces, etc. GeoNet, another tool for NCED’s toolbox, represents an example of successful, interdisciplinary collaboration among geomorphologists, mathematicians, and image processing experts.
Primary tool author: Paola Passalacqua
Visit the GeoNet 2.0 Website for downloads, documentationa and licenseing information.
For more information on NCED Watersheds research, contact:
Desktop Watersheds Program Manager
Department of Integrative Biology
3060 Valley Life Sciences Building #3140
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-3140
National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics | 2 Third Avenue SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414 | 612-624-4363 | email@example.com Follow us on Twitter
- © 2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
- The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer