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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Predicting postfire erosion and mitigation effectiveness with a web-based probabilistic erosion model

Authors
item Robichaud, P - US FOREST SERVICE
item Elliot, W - US FOREST SERVICE
item Pierson, Frederick
item Hall, D - US FOREST SERVICE
item Moffet, Corey

Submitted to: Catena
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 30, 2007
Publication Date: April 30, 2007
Citation: Robichaud, P.R., Elliot, W.J., Pierson Jr, F.B., Hall, D.E., and Moffet, C.A. 2007. Predicting postfire erosion and mitigation effectiveness with a web-based probabilistic erosion model. Catena 71: 229-241.

Interpretive Summary: Attempts to mitigate the impacts of runoff and erosion caused by wildfires on life, property, and natural resources have cost the United States government tens of millions of dollars over the past decade. The decision of where, when, and how to apply the most effective mitigation treatments requires land managers to assess the risk of damaging runoff and erosion events occurring after a fire. To meet this challenge, the Erosion Risk Management Tool (ERMiT) was developed. ERMiT is a web-based application that uses state of the art computer simulation technology to estimate erosion in probabilistic terms on burned and recovering forest, range, and chaparral lands with and without the application of mitigation treatments. ERMiT combines rain event variability with spatial and temporal variabilities of hillslope burn severity, soil properties, and ground cover to parameterize the simulation models. Based on 20 to 40 computer simulations, ERMiT produces a distribution of rain event erosion rates with a probability of occurrence for each of five post-fire years. In addition, rain event erosion rate distributions are generated for hillslopes that have been treated with seeding, straw mulch, straw wattles and contour-felled log erosion barriers.

Technical Abstract: Attempts to mitigate the impact of post-wildfire runoff and erosion on life, property, and natural resources have cost the United States government tens of millions of dollars over the past decade. The decision of where, when, and how to apply the most effective mitigation treatments requires land managers to assess the risk of damaging runoff and erosion events occurring after a fire. To meet this challenge, the Erosion Risk Management Tool (ERMiT) was developed. ERMiT is a web-based application that uses the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) technology to estimate erosion in probabilistic terms on burned and recovering forest, range, and chaparral lands with and without the application of mitigation treatments. ERMiT combines rain event variability with spatial and temporal variabilities of hillslope burn severity, soil properties, and ground cover to estimate WEPP input parameter values. Based on 20 to 40 individual WEPP runs, ERMiT produces a distribution of rain event erosion rates with a probability of occurrence for each of five postfire years. In addition, rain event erosion rate distributions are generated for hillslopes that have been treated with seeding, straw mulch, straw wattles and contour-felled log erosion barriers.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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