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Characterizing Inundation Regimes of a Lowland, Bottomland Hardwood Forest
Proceedings of the 2022 Mississippi Water Resources Conference

Year: 2022 Authors: Perera N., Shockey M., Jones N.

In bottomland hardwood forests, such as those surrounding the Sipsey River in Western Alabama, the magnitude, frequency, duration, and spatial extent of flooding drive the structure and function of the floodplain ecosystem. Hydrogeomorphic features (i.e., sloughs) impact both local scale inundation dynamics and downstream flooding. In this study, we quantify dynamic water storage in a lowland floodplain using a two-dimensional hydrodynamic model built with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Hydrologic Engineering Center River Analysis System (HEC-RAS). Traditionally, hydrodynamic models are used to analyze the extent and duration of flooding. However, we will use the results of our model to quantify changes in water storage in floodplain sloughs along an 18 km reach. The floodplain was modeled using Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data from USGS, and then validated using 77 years of flow data collected from USGS Gage 02446500. The results from this model will be used to predict how inundation regimes impact the structure and function of bottomland hardwood forest ecosystems.

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