An update on hydrology and soil research of the Middle Branch urban storm sewer watershed (#263)
 
Pouyat, R.V. K. Belt, S. Cohen, I. Yesilonis, J. Russell-Anelli, U. Ghosh, B. Stack, G. Fisher, L. Band, P. Groffman, and F. Rogers
 
An urban watershed forestry research and demonstration project was initiated this year by the USDA Forest Service, Baltimore City Department of Public Works, Parks and People Foundation, Center for Urban Environmental Research and Education (CUERE), KCI Technologies, Inc., and the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) in the Middle Branch urban storm watershed (#263). Here we report on the progress of this study. Watershed 263 occupies approximately 907 acres in southwest Baltimore City and contains 13 miles of storm drains exceeding 3 feet in diameter that converge to a 25-ft outfall to the Middle Branch tidal estuary. The study's primary purpose is to quantify the effectiveness of vegetation and urban watershed best management practices (BMP) in improving the quality of water, land and air resources in urban communities. We are addressing three research questions: 1. What are the effects of heterogeneity and pattern of landscape components (patches) on lateral flux and redistribution of water, nutrients, contaminants, and pathogens? 2. Does redistribution affect ecosystem processes and human exposure to contaminants? 3. What is the effect of land use/cover and social factors on C and N dynamics, contaminants, and pathogens? Two sub-sewersheds were selected to be gauged and monitored over a 1-year period to develop a baseline for water flow, N, P, heavy metals, and organic pollutants. The two sub-sewersheds are of equal size in area (~ 40 acres), impervious surface cover (~ 20 acres), and vegetation cover, but vary in housing type and socio-economic factors. Gauging stations are now being constructed at the intersections of Lanvale and Stricker and Baltimore and Mount streets, respectively. Soils and hydrologic connectivity are also in the process of being surveyed. KCI Technologies, Inc., is calibrating the SWMM model for each of the subsewersheds in detail with flows routed to each inlet and overland flow being routed through curbs and storm drains.
 
Keywords: urban hydrology, urban soils, urban watershed, Middle Branch
 

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