Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Geography & Geographic Information Science

First Advisor

Gregory S. Vandeberg

Abstract

Soil erosion modeling using terrain analysis holds great potential due to the simplicity of the models, and the ease in running the analysis in a GIS. Terrain analysis of the upper Devils Lake basin was conducted using a 3-meter Light Detection and Ranging-derived digital elevation model. Portions of the Mauvais Coulee and Calio Coulee watersheds in the basin were analyzed to evaluate soil erosion potential and determine if terrain analysis was an accurate tool for modeling erosion in this fairly flat landscape. The analysis used slope, flow accumulation, and stream power index (SPI) within a GIS to identify highly eroded areas. The study found that 1.5% of the 262.8 km2 study area exhibited channelized erosion. It was determined that the terrain analysis accurately identified 92 (79%) of the 116 survey points established for field verification. Finally, the findings support that the use of terrain analysis for erosion modeling in the Devils Lake basin is highly accurate, and can be a useful tool in locating and implementing best management practices (BMPs) to aid in the reduction of surface runoff entering Mauvais and Calio Coulees from channelized erosion.

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