Use RUSLE2 model to assess the impact of soil erosion on playa inundation and hydrophyte conditions in the Rainwater Basin, Nebraska

Zhenghong Tang, Yue Gu, Weiguo Jiang, Yuan Xue, Andy Bishop, Ted LaGrange, Eleanor Nugent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Playas in the Rainwater Basin region in Nebraska are globally important wetlands that are continuously threatened by culturally accelerated sedimentation. Using annual habitat survey data and wetland vegetation inventories, inundation and hydrophyte community distributions were evaluated for properties under different types of conservation status. Annual soil erosion rates from surrounding watersheds were calculated to estimate sediment accumulated rates using the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation 2 (RUSLE2). The slope-length component of the RUSLE2 was derived from 2009 light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data after the methods described by Van Remortel (Computers & Geosciences 30: 1043-1053, 2004). Wetlands enrolled in conservation programs were inundated more and were dominated to a greater degree by hydrophytes than wetlands not enrolled in these programs. The mean estimated soil erosion rate at the Rainwater Basin landscape level was 4.67 tons/ha/year, and the mean estimated sediment accumulation depth for public watersheds was estimated as 0.19 cm/year. Without appropriate conservation actions, the current inundated acres and wetland acres growing hydrophytes would be further reduced by sediment accumulation. The results illustrated the importance of conservation programs to protect wetlands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Volume188
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Keywords

  • Light detection and ranging (LiDAR)
  • Revised universal soil loss equation 2 (RUSLE2)
  • Sediment
  • Soil erosion
  • Wetland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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