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Rick Dinicola,
Associate Director, WA Water Science Center,
934 Broadway,
Suite 300
Tacoma, WA 98402

(dinicola@usgs.gov)
(253) 552-1603
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Pierce Co. Rainfall-Runoff

Project Summaries

  
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WA341 - Test Application of Regional HSPF Model for Several Small Drainage Basins in Pierce County, Washington - Completed FY1990

Problem - The newly formed Surface Water Management Utility of Pierce County is currently beginning the development of a comprehensive surface-water management plan for unincorporated areas of the county and needs to evaluate the current and future runoff and streamflow characteristics of many upland drainage basins in the county as a foundation for the plan. The U.S. Geological Survey has recently developed a regional version of the HSPF (Hydrological Simulation Program - FORTRAN) rainfall-runoff model. The regional model was developed from data gathered in small upland drainage basins in several areas adjacent to Pierce County. The regional HSPF model could be the tool of choice for such evaluations by Pierce County because the hydrologic and physical properties of upland basins in Pierce County are similar to those represented in the regional model, but the simulation accuracy of the regional model has not yet been tested in this county.

Objectives - This study is a preliminary application of the Puget Sound regional HSPF model for two small drainage basins in Pierce County to determine its accuracy in simulating streamflow that will be measured and recorded for 12 months at 12 sites in the two basins. If this modeling approach is accepted, the scope of study will likely be expanded to include at least a second year of data collection and calibration to refine the regional parameters used in the model.

Approach - The model will be tested for applicability on the Clear Creek and Clarks Creek basins, which are tributary to the Puyallup River in Pierce County. These two basins typify the topographic, geologic, soils, and land-use characteristics found in many upland basins in the County, and they are also physiographically similar to those basins from which the regional model was developed. Three primary tasks will be performed concurrently for this study. First, a streamflow and rainfall data-collection network will be installed in the two basins and operated to obtain one complete year of record. Next, the topographic, geologic, soils, land-use, and hydraulic characteristics of the basins will be inventoried. Finally, the hydrologic data and basin characteristics will be incorporated into the regional HSPF model framework, and the model will be run to simulate the hydrology of the basins for the 1-year period of data collection. If this modeling approach is accepted, the scope of study will likely be expanded to include at least a second year of data collection and calibration to refine the regional parameters used in the model.

PN353 - Surface-Water-Quality Study in the Clover Creek Basin (Pierce Co. Rainfall-Runoff, Phase II) - Completed FY1995

Problem - The USGS is conducting a study to construct and calibrate rainfall-runoff models for drainage basins in Pierce County. Clover Creek and its tributaries drain a portion of the county. Water quality is a concern in the Clover Creek basin because land use over much of the area is rapidly changing from rural to urban and suburban.

Objectives - The objectives of this water-quality study are to (1) describe spatial and temporal changes in water-quality conditions in Clover Creek and its tributaries, (2) develop a conceptual understanding of the influence of land use and other basin characteristics on the quality of water in Clover Creek and its tributaries, and (3) test the use of a water-quality model to simulate the loading of selected constituents in Clover Creek and its tributaries from parts of the basin with different land-use characteristics and to simulate the transport of selected constituents in the stream channel and into Steilacoom Lake.

Approach - Spatial and temporal changes in water-quality conditions in Clover Creek and its tributaries will be determined by sampling during periods of baseflow and storm flow. Sampling will be done at various times over a two-year period. Where possible, data collected during this study will be compared with historical data to evaluate possible trends in water quality. Based on an examination of the available data and on the concerns of Pierce County officials, water-quality constituents of primary interest in the Clover Creek system are major nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus compounds, bacteria, and lead. Therefore, the water-quality sampling conducted during this study will emphasize the determination of these constituent concentrations. Additionally, concentrations of suspended sediment in all samples will be determined, and concentrations of dissolved oxygen and biochemical oxygen demand will be determined in samples collected during base flow in the summer. Runoff and streamflow resulting from five storms will be sampled. During and after storms, the rate and magnitude of changes in stream flow and runoff will determine the water-quality sampling schedule at a given sampling location. Two rainfall samples will be collected during each of the five sampled storms and analyzed for nitrate and ammonia plus organic nitrogen. The HSPF model, or possibly another suitable model, will be used to estimate constituent loads in runoff from parts of the Clover Creek basin with different land-use characteristics and to simulate the transport of constituents in the stream. Constituent concentrations in runoff from the three sampled catchments will be used to help calibrate the model, which will be used to simulate constituent washoff from larger areas.

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