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Sediment calibration strategies of Phase 5 Chesapeake Bay watershed model

January 1, 2005

Sediment is a primary constituent of concern for Chesapeake Bay due to its effect on water clarity. Accurate representation of sediment processes and behavior in Chesapeake Bay watershed model is critical for developing sound load reduction strategies. Sediment calibration remains one of the most difficult components of watershed-scale assessment. This is especially true for Chesapeake Bay watershed model given the size of the watershed being modeled and complexity involved in land and stream simulation processes. To obtain the best calibration, the Chesapeake Bay program has developed four different strategies for sediment calibration of Phase 5 watershed model, including 1) comparing observed and simulated sediment rating curves for different parts of the hydrograph; 2) analyzing change of bed depth over time; 3) relating deposition/scour to total annual sediment loads; and 4) calculating "goodness-of-fit' statistics. These strategies allow a more accurate sediment calibration, and also provide some insightful information on sediment processes and behavior in Chesapeake Bay watershed.