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Center for Spatial Information and Research

Research and Applications FY 2005

Projects completed for RGIS Pacific NW

Geospatial Approach for Assessing Groundwater Connectivity for Land Planning Issues

Diminishing availability of surface and groundwater in the western United States threatens the livelihood of irrigation agriculturalists and development of regional communities. Understanding the dynamics of groundwater connectivity is crucial to effective forward-planning for both conservation and sustainable development. In addition to the vital contributions to safe and adequate water supplies, groundwater inputs contribute to maintaining critical wetland habitats and summertime in-stream flows (important to fish habitat). Rural management agencies are increasingly required to identify and protect such water supplies and habitats in their management plans. For example, the Washington Shoreline Management Act requires local jurisdictions to include “associated wetlands” within the shorelines managed by their shoreline master programs. However, exact procedures to determine “associated” wetlands, which are often connected by groundwater, are unclear. Research is required to develop reliable methods to enable governments to integrate groundwater considerations into their land planning process, including such issues as spatial delineation of critical habitat and groundwater recharge areas for shoreline and growth management, as well as tracking pollution sources and pathways potentially affecting both surface and groundwater supplies. This objective will examine the utility of a groundwater model to provide rural communities with the necessary information to complete such tasks. This will include: 1) a review of existing groundwater models (e.g. Modflow) and appropriate selection of one; 2) training of RGIS staff for model application; 3) identification and collection of suitable geospatial data sources that would be available to rural managers as groundwater model inputs; and 4) a pilot case study application in either western or eastern Washington (e.g. Wapato or Redmond), depending on data availability.

Slideshow: Development of a geospatial approach for assessing groundwater connectivity for land planning activities


Web Mapping Capability to Support Public Participatory GIS

In 2003/04 our Community Project developed a PPGIS application for the citizens of Roslyn, WA. In an attempt to transfer ownership of this project to the community we have trained community members in GIS and the CommunityViz Decision Support System. To further this aim of assisting the community take control of their project and future use of PPGIS tools, this objective will develop and make available a web mapping capability for the community. This will enable community members to view, query and download existing data, and to create and upload data into the database. Basic analytical tools will also be made available to community members via the web GIS application. As well as enhancing our community project, this objective will provide a foundation for further development of web-based GIS applications.


Development of Geospatial Data for Rural Watershed and Aquatic Lands Management

Washington State Department of Ecology and Central Washington University have recently developed a new decision support system (DSS) to enhance the ability of resource managers to make better use of geospatial data in monitoring and modeling watersheds, marine, river and lake shorelines. The DSS is available on line and on cd and identifies data sets to develop for assisting rural jurisdictions updating their Shoreline Master Programs (SMPs). We will retrieve, format and make accessible these relevant GIS data for local jurisdictions updating SMPs. These data will also be used to develop further examples and provide the base layers for future development of an Eastern Washington Shoreline and Aquatic Lands internet mapping application.


Alternative representations of reach-scale channel dynamics

Detailed, spatially explicit mapping of fluvial landscapes serves several important functions, including the delineation of baseline conditions for examining channel evolution, determining the impacts of land use change, and acting as a guide for stream habitat evaluation and restoration projects. In gravel-bed rivers this task is complicated by the dynamism of their complex, three-dimensional channel and floodplain morphology, a configuration that varies throughout space and time in response to the fluctuation of both the frequency and magnitude of governing process variables (e.g., discharge and sediment supply). While recent work has successfully applied advanced geospatial technologies to refine mapping of gravel-bed fluvial environments, few approaches have sought to explicitly incorporate spatial and temporal variability and uncertainty, and thus do not map their complexity – information critical for effective management. The goals of this research are thus to: 1) determine the ability of new geospatial technologies and modeling approaches to explicitly incorporate the system’s variability; and 2) demonstrate their utility as resource management tools. This research examines a reach of the Naches River, a wandering gravel-bed river located in central Washington state. Stream gauge records are used to calculate flow probabilities, and River2D, a two-dimensional, depth averaged, hydrodynamic model, is combined with a high-resolution LiDAR data set to compute inundation extent, depth, and velocity. Model output is imported into a GIS where it is visualized with image and terrain data and analyzed as a hydraulic time series utilizing fuzzy representation. Dynamic process-based maps are created and evaluated for their management utility.