Testing of the Modified Streambank Erosion and Instream Phosphorus Routines for the SWAT Model

A. R. Mittelstet, D. E. Storm, G. A. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In some watersheds, streambanks are a source of two major pollutants, phosphorus (P) and sediment. P originating from both uplands and streambanks can be transported and stored indefinitely on floodplains, streambanks, and in closed depressions near the stream. The objectives of this study were to (1) test the modified streambank erosion and instream P routines for the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model in the Barren Fork Creek watershed in northeast Oklahoma, (2) predict P in the watershed with and without streambank-derived P, and (3) determine the significance of streambank erosion P relative to overland P sources. Measured streambank and channel parameters were incorporated into a flow-calibrated SWAT model and used to estimate streambank erosion and P for the Barren Fork Creek using modified streambank erosion and instream P routines. The predicted reach-weighted streambank erosion was 40 kg/m vs. the measured 42 kg/m. Streambank erosion contributed 47% of the total P to the Barren Fork Creek and improved P predictions compared to observed data, especially during the high-flow events. Of the total P entering the stream system, approximately 65% was removed via the watershed outlet and 35% was stored in the floodplain and stream system. This study successfully applied the SWAT model's modified streambank erosion and instream P routines and demonstrated that streambank-derived P can improve P modeling at the watershed scale. Editor's note: This paper is part of the featured series on SWAT Applications for Emerging Hydrologic and Water Quality Challenges. See the February 2017 issue for the introduction and background to the series.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-114
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • SWAT
  • composite streambanks
  • instream phosphorus routine
  • phosphorus
  • streambank erosion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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