Flood-inundation and flood-mitigation modeling of the West Branch Wapsinonoc Creek Watershed in West Branch, Iowa

Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5002
Prepared in cooperation with the city of West Branch and the National Park Service
By:

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Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the city of West Branch and the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site of the National Park Service assessed flood-mitigation scenarios within the West Branch Wapsinonoc Creek watershed. The scenarios are intended to demonstrate several means of decreasing peak streamflows and improving the conveyance of overbank flows from the West Branch Wapsinonoc Creek and its tributary Hoover Creek where they flow through the city and the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site located within the city.

Hydrologic and hydraulic models of the watershed were constructed to assess the flood-mitigation scenarios. To accomplish this, the models used the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center-Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC–HMS) version 4.2 to simulate the amount of runoff and streamflow produced from single rain events. The Hydrologic Engineering Center-River Analysis System (HEC–RAS) version 5.0 was then used to construct an unsteady-state model that may be used for routing streamflows, mapping areas that may be inundated during floods, and simulating the effects of different measures taken to decrease the effects of floods on people and infrastructure.

Both models were calibrated to three historic rainfall events that produced peak streamflows ranging between the 2-year and 10-year flood-frequency recurrence intervals at the USGS streamgage (05464942) on Hoover Creek. The historic rainfall events were calibrated by using data from two USGS streamgages along with surveyed high-water marks from one of the events. The calibrated HEC–HMS model was then used to simulate streamflows from design rainfall events of 24-hour duration ranging from a 20-percent to a 1-percent annual exceedance probability. These simulated streamflows were incorporated into the HEC–RAS model.

The unsteady-state HEC–RAS model was calibrated to represent existing conditions within the watershed. HEC–RAS model simulations with the existing conditions and streamflows from the design rainfall events were then done to serve as a baseline for evaluating flood-mitigation scenarios. After these simulations were completed, three different flood-mitigation scenarios were developed with HEC–RAS: a detention-storage scenario, a conveyance improvement scenario, and a combination of both. In the detention-storage scenario, four in-channel detention structures were placed upstream from the city of West Branch to attenuate peak streamflows. To investigate possible improvements to conveying floodwaters through the city of West Branch, a section of abandoned railroad embankment and an old truss bridge were removed in the model, because these structures were producing backwater areas during flooding events. The third scenario combines the detention and conveyance scenarios so their joint efficiency could be evaluated. The scenarios with the design rainfall events were run in the HEC–RAS model so their flood-mitigation effects could be analyzed across a wide range of flood magnitudes.

Suggested Citation

Cigrand, C.V., 2018, Flood-inundation and flood-mitigation modeling of the West Branch Wapsinonoc Creek Watershed in West Branch, Iowa: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5002, 36 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185002.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments 
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Hydrologic Model
  • Hydraulic Model 
  • Model Calibration
  • Existing-Conditions Model With Frequency Storms  
  • Flood-Mitigation Scenarios 
  • Summary
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Flood-inundation and flood-mitigation modeling of the West Branch Wapsinonoc Creek Watershed in West Branch, Iowa
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2018-5002
DOI 10.3133/sir20185002
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Iowa Water Science Center
Description viii, 36 p.
Country United States
State Iowa
City West Branch
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N