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Estimating potential wetland extent along selected river reaches in Indiana using streamflow statistics and flood-inundation mapping techniques

August 12, 2019

In this study potential wetland extents were estimated for 12 river reaches covering about 750 river miles in Indiana and parts of Illinois and Ohio. The study was completed by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. This study follows and adds to the work completed in a pilot study and determines that potential wetland extents can be estimated using streamflow statistics, streamgage data, and flood-inundation mapping techniques.

The study was designed to assist in the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program is a voluntary program administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service that provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners and Tribes to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands in exchange for retiring eligible land from agriculture. For a site to be eligible for wetland restoration, it should be in a zone with sustained or frequent flooding. This study calculated the flows that lasted for a period of 7 consecutive days on average at least once every 2 years (a value termed the “7MQ2”) for all the U.S. Geological Survey streamgages within the selected river reaches. These 7MQ2 flows were related to the stage-discharge tables for each streamgage, and a corresponding water-surface elevation was determined. Maps of estimated wetland extent were prepared using the 7MQ2 inundation elevation data in conjunction with bare-earth land-surface elevation data made publicly available through the online geospatial data clearinghouses of Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio. Flood-inundation mapping techniques were applied with the aid of geographic information system software to generate water-surface planes that represent inundation elevations associated with the 7MQ2 streamflow. Land-surface elevation data from high-resolution digital elevation models were subtracted from the water-surface planes to produce maps of wetland extent. The 12 map products, including datasets and geoprocessing tools, produced from this study will aid the National Resources Conservation Service and its partners with the onsite inundation-zone verification in agricultural land for potential restoration.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2019
Title Estimating potential wetland extent along selected river reaches in Indiana using streamflow statistics and flood-inundation mapping techniques
DOI 10.3133/sir20195063
Authors Kathleen K. Fowler, Benjamin J. Sperl, Moon H. Kim
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2019-5063
Index ID sir20195063
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Water Science Center