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Geo-Spatial Wildland Management Tool – Cumulative Watershed Effects Extension

Principal Investigator
Chris S. Renschler

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture – Forest Service
U.S. Dept. of Interior – Bureau of Land Management
Environment & Society Institute (University at Buffalo)

William Elliott, Research Leader (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture – Forest Service)
Bill Ypsilantis, Soil Scientist (U.S. Dept. of Interior – Bureau of Land Management)

Research Assistants
Martin Minkowski, Taesoo Lee, Mary Ellen Miller, Tom Stieve, Marc Koopman

This project is funded by the Joint Fire Science Program. The GeoWEPP spatial erosion modeling tool is showing great promise for applications to Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation (BAER) erosion analysis, postfire salvage logging analysis, and cumulative watershed effects analysis of fuel management treatments, including thinning and prescribed fire. In BLM and Forest Service workshops in the past year, the current generic GeoWEPP tool has been presented, and users have enthusiastically encouraged us to further develop and refine this tool for fire and fuel management applications. GeoWEPP was used on at least one fire during this past fire season in spite of its generic nature, and we expect to see increasing demand for this new spatial analysis tool in the coming years as increased incidences of wildfires are coincident with increased fuel management activities.

To make this promising tool more useful, we customize GeoWEPP specifically for fire and fuel management. We propose to build custom databases, and prepare three custom interfaces in ArcGIS specifically for 1) BAER analysis, 2) salvage logging analysis, and 3) fuel management (mulching, thinning, and prescribed fire) analysis. We will also prepare analysis worksheets and prepare model documentation. All products will be available online on the GeoWEPP home page. During the short 18-mn duration of this proposal we will also present the model to potential users at a minimum of four workshops, targeting improvements on feedback received from every workshop. We expect that the outcome of this proposal will be improved watershed analysis to support wildfire rehabilitation and fuel management activities.

Key Features:

  • Use standardized commonly available data provided by federal agencies through the Internet
  • Outline your area of interest, watershed or representative hillslopes
  • Simulate a variety of land use scenarios to determine the most appropriate soil and water conservation method.

For more details on GeoWEPP click here – if you are interested in the annual WEPP/GeoWEPP workshop click here.