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Geographical information system erosion assessment at a military training site

Gaffer, R.L., Flanagan, D.C., Denight, M.L., Engel, B.A.
Journal of soil and water conservation 2008 v.63 no.1 pp. 1
soil erosion, geographic information systems, military lands, roads, trails, vehicles, slope, runoff, computer software, estimation, prediction, water erosion, equations, user interface, losses from soil, models, Indiana
US military training facilities often experience significant environmental damage from soil erosion. Much of this erosion occurs on roads and trails created by repeated military vehicle traffic during training operations. If the roads are located on steep slopes or in areas of concentrated runoff, soil loss can be accelerated. A geographical information system software package and a modified Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) were used to estimate erosion potential at Camp Atterbury located in south-central Indiana. Geospatial interface to the Water Erosion Prediction Project model (GeoWEPP) was also used to estimate soil loss for the camp. Each erosion estimate was overlain with the roads and trails map. Estimated erosion levels on the camp's trafficways with the USLE and GeoWEPP methods were then evaluated with on-site inspections of erosion conditions at Camp Atterbury. A significant correlation was found between predicted and observed erosion for both the modified USLE and GeoWEPP methods. The statistical significance for the USLE and GeoWEPP procedures allows their use in estimating erosion potential for unimproved roads and trails with confidence.