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Geospatial datasets for assessing the effects of rangeland conditions on dissolved-solids yields in the Upper Colorado River Basin

February 2, 2015

In 2009, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) developed a Spatially Referenced Regressions on Watershed Attributes (SPARROW) surface-water quality model for the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB) relating dissolved-solids sources and transport in the 1991 water year to upstream catchment characteristics. The SPARROW model focused on geologic and agricultural sources of dissolved solids in the UCRB and was calibrated using water-year 1991 dissolved-solids loads from 218 monitoring sites. A new UCRB SPARROW model is planned that will update the investigation of dissolved-solids sources and transport in the basin to circa 2010 conditions and will improve upon the 2009 model by incorporating more detailed information about agricultural-irrigation and rangeland-management practices, among other improvements. Geospatial datasets relating to circa 2010 rangeland conditions are required for the new UCRB SPARROW modeling effort. This study compiled geospatial datasets for the UCRB that relate to the biotic alterations and rangeland conditions of grazing, fire and other land disturbance, and vegetation type and cover. Datasets representing abiotic alterations of access control (off-highway vehicles) and sediment generation and transport in general, were also compiled. These geospatial datasets may be tested in the upcoming SPARROW model to better understand the potential contribution of rangelands to dissolved-solids loading in UCRB streams.