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

(253) 552-1603
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Thurston County Basin Runoff Models

Project Summaries

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WA327 - Streamflow Simulation Models for Small Urban Drainage Basins in Thurston County - Completed FY1994

Problem - Thurston County planning agencies need a method for estimating the effects of different land uses on streamflows, ground-water recharge, and water quality in order to take into consideration the potential effects on water resources of different zoning and land use plans. A method is needed that can be used to estimate runoff from small drainage basins for which there are no streamflow data. That method must be capable of estimating base flow as well as storm-runoff discharges. The method of preference would provide an account of the amount of precipitation becoming ground-water recharge and would allow the County to couple estimated annual runoff with the County's measurements of water-quality constituents to obtain estimates of annual loadings.

Objectives -

  1. To provide and briefly test for Thurston County planning agencies a method for estimating streamflows and ground-water recharge in small, ungaged basins in north-central Thurston County. The method is to be based on influence of geology, soils, surface cover, drainage network, and topography on runoff and recharge from precip- itation so that changes in those basin characteristics may be used to estimate the effects of land development on streamflows and recharge;
  2. To expand our knowledge of the influence on runoff and recharge of physical characteristics that differ among the various small drain- age basins present in the Puget Sound region. Thurston County possesses some different soil and geologic characteristics than were investigated in previous study areas (King and Snohomish Counties); and
  3. To encourage and support objective, water-conscious land-use planning for growing urban areas by assisting in the development of deterministic models for simulating the effect of land use on runoff, and by transferring to urban planning agencies the ability to use the predictive hydrologic models.

Approach - The USGS will work closely with Thurston County to develop numerical rainfall-runoff models for estimating streamflows on three small drainage basins in north-central Thurston County. The models will be of the same type as those developed on the basis of geology, soils, surface cover, drainage network, and topography in small basins in King and Snohomish Counties. The three drainage basins selected to be modeled are Percival Creek downstream from Black Lake, Woodland Creek, and Woodward Creek, which have been identified by Thurston County as undergoing rapid devel- opment and for which information is urgently needed to aid in land use planning. The drainage area of these basins are 8 square miles (Percival Creek excluding Black Lake drainage), 28 square miles (Woodland Creek), and 8 square miles (Woodward Creek).

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