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A new 2-D sediment model: HYSTAR-Sed

An erosion and sediment transport component incorporated in the HYSTAR upland watershed model provides grid-based prediction of erosion, transport and deposition of sediment in a dynamic, continuous, and fully distributed framework. The model represents the spatio-temporally varied flow in sediment transport simulation by coupling the time-area routing method and sediment transport capacity approach within a grid-based spatial data model. This avoids the common, and simplistic, approach of using the USLE to estimate erosion rates with a delivery ratio to relate gross soil erosion to sediment yield of a watershed, while enabling us to simulate two-dimensional sediment transport processes without the complexity of numerical solution of the partial differential governing equations. In using the time-area method for routing sediment, the model offers a novel alternative to watershed-scale sediment transport simulation that provides detailed spatial representation. In predicting 4-year sediment hydrographs of a watershed in Virginia, the model provided good performance with R2 of 0.82 and 0.78 and relative error of -35% and 11% using the Yalin and Yang’s sediment transport capacity equations respectively. Prediction of spatio-temporal variation in sediment transport processes was evaluated using maps of sediment transport rates, concentrations, and erosion and deposition mass, which compare well with expected behavior of flow hydraulics and sediment transport processes.

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