Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2009 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Assessing the Impact of the Urban Tree Canopy on Streamflow Response: An Extension of Physically Based Hydrologic Modeling to the Suburban Landscape
Mittman, Tamara
Co-Authors: Lawrence Band

Abstract: This research examines the impact of land cover composition and pattern on catchment hydrologic response in an ungauged suburban catchment in Baltimore, MD. Field data collected by the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) are integrated with the Regional Hydro-Ecologic Simulation System (RHESSys) to develop models of the study catchment and a nearby reference catchment. A proxy-catchment calibration method is applied to calibrate model parameters, and the Generalized Likelihood Uncertainty Estimation (GLUE) method is applied to assess model uncertainty. To examine the impact of urban tree canopy on catchment hydrologic response, four vegetation management scenarios are simulated. Results suggest that parameter transfer from a forested reference catchment to an ungauged suburban catchment is viable for lightly urbanized catchments, and indicate that the extent of the urban tree canopy is a key determinant of streamflow response. Results also demonstrate the importance of preserving upland as well as riparian forest in maintaining ecosystem function.