Development of Relations of Stream Stage to Channel Geometry and Discharge for Stream Segments Simulated with Hydrologic Simulation Program-Fortran (HSPF), Chesapeake Bay Watershed and Adjacent Parts of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware

Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5135
Prepared in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
By:  and 



The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP), Interstate Commission for the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB), Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (VADCR), and University of Maryland (UMD) are collaborating to improve the resolution of the Chesapeake Bay Regional Watershed Model (CBRWM). This watershed model uses the Hydrologic Simulation Program-Fortran (HSPF) to simulate the fate and transport of nutrients and sediment throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed and extended areas of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. Information from the CBRWM is used by the CBP and other watershed managers to assess the effectiveness of water-quality improvement efforts as well as guide future management activities. A critical step in the improvement of the CBRWM framework was the development of an HSPF function table (FTABLE) for each represented stream channel. The FTABLE is used to relate stage (water depth) in a particular stream channel to associated channel surface area, channel volume, and discharge (streamflow). The primary tool used to generate an FTABLE for each stream channel is the XSECT program, a computer program that requires nine input variables used to represent channel morphology. These input variables are reach length, upstream and downstream elevation, channel bottom width, channel bankfull width, channel bankfull stage, slope of the floodplain, and Manning's roughness coefficient for the channel and floodplain. For the purpose of this study, the nine input variables were grouped into three categories: channel geometry, Manning's roughness coefficient, and channel and floodplain slope. Values of channel geometry for every stream segment represented in CBRWM were obtained by first developing regional regression models that relate basin drainage area to observed values of bankfull width, bankfull depth, and bottom width at each of the 290 USGS streamflow-gaging stations included in the areal extent of the model. These regression models were developed on the basis of data from stations in four physiographic provinces (Appalachian Plateaus, Valley and Ridge, Piedmont, and Coastal Plain) and were used to predict channel geometry for all 738 stream segments in the modeled area from associated basin drainage area. Manning's roughness coefficient for the channel and floodplain was represented in the XSECT program in two forms. First, all available field-estimated values of roughness were compiled for gaging stations in each physiographic province. The median of field-estimated values of channel and floodplain roughness for each physiographic province was applied to all respective stream segments. The second representation of Manning's roughness coefficient was to allow roughness to vary with channel depth. Roughness was estimated at each gaging station for each 1-foot depth interval. Median values of roughness were calculated for each 1-foot depth interval for all stations in each physiographic province. Channel and floodplain slope were determined for every stream segment in CBRWM using the USGS National Elevation Dataset. Function tables were generated by the XSECT program using values of channel geometry, channel and floodplain roughness, and channel and floodplain slope. The FTABLEs for each of the 290 USGS streamflow-gaging stations were evaluated by comparing observed discharge to the XSECT-derived discharge. Function table stream discharge derived using depth-varying roughness was found to be more representative of and statistically indistinguishable from values of observed stream discharge. Additionally, results of regression analysis showed that XSECT-derived discharge accounted for approximately 90 percent of the variability associated with observed discharge in each of the four physiographic provinces. The results of this study indicate that the methodology developed to generate FTABLEs for every s

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Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Development of relations of stream stage to channel geometry and discharge for stream segments simulated with Hydrologic Simulation Program-Fortran (HSPF), Chesapeake Bay Watershed and adjacent parts of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2007-5135
DOI 10.3133/sir20075135
Year Published 2007
Language English
Publisher Geological Survey (U.S.)
Contributing office(s) Virginia Water Science Center
Description Report: vi, 84 p.; 5 Appendices
Country United States
Other Geospatial Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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