Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree

Summer 2011

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Larry J. Weber

Second Advisor

Ricardo Mantilla

Abstract

East Iowa experienced large flooding during June of 2008. This study used Cuencas hydrological model to simulate the discharges of June 2008 at Eldorado and Elkader, in the Turkey River Watershed, in North East Iowa. The results of this study were used to test the performance of Cuencas modeling this flood event and to explore the role of land cover change in the floods of 2008 at Elkader, Iowa.

Cuencas was found to be a suitable tool to predict this event, that requires relatively low resources. The total time to run each simulation was around two hours which is reasonable for such large watershed (900 mi2), but a computer cluster was needed to run these simulations.

The results from this study suggest that the role of land cover change from pre-settlement to current conditions was significant when using the rainfall conditions of 2008. The discharges simulated at Elkader, Iowa were almost twice as large when using the 2001 land cover, than when using the land cover found during 1832-1859, recorded during the General Land Office (GLO) survey. These results need to be taken only as preliminary results, since there is no data to validate the model at the time of the GLO survey, and since it is the first time that Cuencas is used to model the effects of land cover in Iowa's hydrology. However, the potential large reduction on discharge of the pre-settlement land cover is an incentive to investigate this issue further and continue developing Cuencas to capture the effects of less drastic land cover changes.

Keywords

Curve Number, Floods, Hydrologic modeling, Land cover change, Turkey river

Pages

viii, 96 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 82-96).

Copyright

Copyright 2011 Maria Fernanda Perez Gonzalez

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