Modeling the effect of urban infrastructure on hydrologic processes within i-Tree Hydro, a statistically and spatially distributed model

Monday, 15 December 2014
Thomas P. Taggart, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Environmental Resources Engineering, Syracuse, NY, United States, Theodore A Endreny, SUNY ESF, Syracuse, NY, United States and Dave Nowak, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Syracuse, NY, United States
Gray and green infrastructure in urban environments alters many natural hydrologic processes, creating an urban water balance unique to the developed environment. A common way to assess the consequences of impervious cover and grey infrastructure is by measuring runoff hydrographs. This focus on the watershed outlet masks the spatial variation of hydrologic process alterations across the urban environment in response to localized landscape characteristics. We attempt to represent this spatial variation in the urban environment using the statistically and spatially distributed i-Tree Hydro model, a scoping level urban forest effects water balance model. i-Tree Hydro has undergone expansion and modification to include the effect of green infrastructure processes, road network attributes, and urban pipe system leakages. These additions to the model are intended to increase the understanding of the altered urban hydrologic cycle by examining the effects of the location of these structures on the water balance. Specifically, the effect of these additional structures and functions on the spatially varying properties of interception, soil moisture and runoff generation. Differences in predicted properties and optimized parameter sets between the two models are examined and related to the recent landscape modifications. Datasets used in this study consist of watersheds and sewersheds within the Syracuse, NY metropolitan area, an urban area that has integrated green and gray infrastructure practices to alleviate stormwater problems.