Digital topographic, soil, and land-use information was used to estimate potential runoff-contributing areas in Kansas. The results were used to compare 91 selected subbasins representing slope, soil, land-use, and runoff variability across the State. Potential runoff-contributing areas were estimated collectively for the processes of infiltration-excess and saturation-excess overland flow using a set of environmental conditions that represented, in relative terms, very high, high, moderate, low, very low, and extremely low potential for runoff. Various rainfall-intensity and soil-permeability values were used to represent the threshold conditions at which infiltration-excess overland flow may occur. Antecedent soil-moisture conditions and a topographic wetness index (TWI) were used to represent the threshold conditions at which saturation-excess overland flow may occur. Land-use patterns were superimposed over the potential runoff-contributing areas for each set of environmental conditions. Results indicated that the very low potential-runoff conditions (soil permeability less than or equal to 1.14 inches per hour and TWI greater than or equal to 14.4) provided the best statewide ability to quantitatively distinguish subbasins as having relatively high, moderate, or low potential for runoff on the basis of the percentage of potential runoff-contributing areas within each subbasin. The very low and (or) extremely low potential-runoff conditions (soil permeability less than or equal to 0.57 inch per hour and TWI greater than or equal to 16.3) provided the best ability to qualitatively compare potential for runoff among areas within individual subbasins. The majority of subbasins with relatively high potential for runoff are located in the eastern half of the State where soil permeability is generally less and precipitation is typically greater. The ability to distinguish subbasins as having relatively high, moderate, or low potential for runoff was possible mostly due to the variability of soil permeability across the State. The spatial distribution of potential contributing areas, in combination with the superimposed land-use patterns, may be used to help identify and prioritize subbasin areas for the implementation of best-management practices to manage runoff and meet Federally mandated total maximum daily load requirements.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Estimation and comparison of potential runoff-contributing areas in Kansas using topographic, soil, and land-use information
Water-Resources Investigations Report
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ;
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