The Hydrological Simulation Program - Fortran (HSPF) was used to simulate streamflow and sediment transport in two surface-mined basins of Fayette County, Pa. Hydrologic data from the Stony Fork Basin (0.93 square miles) was used to calibrate HSPF parameters. The calibrated parameters were applied to an HSPF model of the Poplar Run Basin (8.83 square miles) to evaluate the transfer value of model parameters. The results of this investigation provide information to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, Bureau of Mining and Reclamation, regarding the value of the simulated hydrologic data for use in cumulative hydrologic-impact assessments of surface-mined basins.
The calibration period was October 1, 1985, through September 30, 1988 (water years 1986-88). The simulated data were representative of the observed data from the Stony Fork Basin. Mean simulated streamflow was 1.64 cubic feet per second compared to measured streamflow of 1.58 cubic feet per second for the 3-year period. The difference between the observed and simulated peak stormflow ranged from 4.0 to 59.7 percent for 12 storms. The simulated sediment load for the 1987 water year was 127.14 tons (0.21 ton per acre), which compares to a measured sediment load of 147.09 tons (0.25 ton per acre). The total simulated suspended-sediment load for the 3-year period was 538.2 tons (0.30 ton per acre per year), which compares to a measured sediment load of 467.61 tons (0.26 ton per acre per year).
The model was verified by comparing observed and simulated data from October 1, 1988, through September 30, 1989. The results obtained were comparable to those from the calibration period. The simulated mean daily discharge was representative of the range of data observed from the basin and of the frequency with which specific discharges were equalled or exceeded.
The calibrated and verified parameters from the Stony Fork model were applied to an HSPF model of the Poplar Run Basin. The two basins are in a similar physical setting. Data from October 1, 1987, through September 30, 1989, were used to evaluate the Poplar Run model. In general, the results from the Poplar Run model were comparable to those obtained from the Stony Fork model. The difference between observed and simulated total streamflow was 1.1 percent for the 2-year period. The mean annual streamflow simulated by the Poplar Run model was 18.3 cubic feet per second. This compares to an observed streamflow of 18.15 cubic feet per second. For the 2-year period, the simulated sediment load was 2,754 tons (0.24 ton per acre per year), which compares to a measured sediment load of 3,051.2 tons (0.27 ton per acre per year) for the Poplar Run Basin. Cumulative frequency-distribution curves of the observed and simulated streamflow compared well. The comparison between observed and simulated data improved as the time span increased. Simulated annual means and totals were more representative of the observed data than hourly data used in comparing storm events.
The structure and organization of the HSPF model facilitated the simulation of a wide range of hydrologic processes. The simulation results from this investigation indicate that model parameters may be transferred to ungaged basins to generate representative hydrologic data through modeling techniques.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Simulation of streamflow and sediment transport in two surface-coal-mined basins in Fayette County, Pennsylvania