Water Resources Professional Project Reports

Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



The primary objective of this project was to develop a spatial erosion model using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) that took into account various management issues including road construction, fire history, and grazing. The model was created in five steps: the erosion model, three individual management analyses (for roads, fire history, and grazing), and the combined analysis. Modeling was conducted at the 1 :250,000 scale using USGS Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) 5th code boundaries. The erosion model and individual analysis results were compared to expected results from applicable research in their respective fields of study. The project goal was for the combined analysis results, when compared to the New Mexico Environment Department's impaired waters dataset, to provide an indication of impaired waters. Although the individual analyses produced accurate results, those of the combined analysis did not relate to the to the actual sample data. While several iterations of the model were run with various modified parameters, the results continually failed to yield a relationship. Although the model did not produce predictive results, several valuable conclusions could be drawn from which to base future modifications. The roads analysis required fine-tuning since many of the roads within the study area were located close to water bodies and could be expected to have significant impacts on erosion. In addition, weighting the combined analysis such that areas near watercourses and water bodies have a greater impact on water quality than those further away would have yielded more accurate results. Finally, using the entire watershed as a study area caused significant problems due to the large areas involved, and this could have been avoided by limiting analysis to the catchment of each impaired stream independently.

Language (ISO)



Geographic information systems (GIS), road analysis, grazing analysis, forest analysis, fire analysis, USGS Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) 5th, New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) impaired waters dataset, USFS General Ecosystem Survey (GES), RUSLE base erosion model


A Professional Project Report Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Water Resources, Water Resources Program,The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico,December 2005