The Impact of Palustrine Wetland Loss on Flood Peaks: An Application of Distributed Hydrologic Modeling in Harris County, Texas
Duncan, Brandon Richard
Bedient, Philip B.
Master of Science
This study uses a distributed hydrologic model to assess the impact of wetland loss on flood peaks. There is large agreement among hydrologists that wetlands have significant flood-mitigation potential. However, the lack of data availability and the appropriate model have generally prevented this impact from being quantified and applied to city planning. From 1980 to 2008 sixty percent of the wetlands in Houston's Cole Creek were destroyed. Because of its proximity to downtown, a wealth of historical, hydrologic data are available for the subbasin. Distributed hydrologic models, which have become more accessible with the increase of computer processing power, allow for the consideration of finite areas, such as wetlands, on watershed response. This study found that wetland loss from 1980 to 2008 has increased flood peaks by approximately 15 percent in Cole Creek, for 2, 5, and 10-year storms.
Civil engineering; Environmental engineering