Accurate determination of runoff into the Great Lakes is important for managing and controlling the low oxygen conditions (hypoxia) and harmful algal blooms (HABs). Scientists supported through NCCOS have tested a classic watershed hydrology transport model in six watersheds draining into Lake Erie.
The USDA Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model was utilized and compared across the Huron, Raisin, Maumee, Sandusky, Cuyahoga, and Grand watersheds to determine the applicability of SWAT to watersheds of differing characteristics (forested, agricultural and urban).
SWAT effectively predicted hydrology and sediments across a range of watershed characteristics, but was most satisfactory in agricultural and forested watersheds. Results of the testing show the utility of these SWAT models for management of nutrient and sediment input to Lake.