The Department of Defense (DoD) manages millions of acres of land in the United States through their installations and test ranges. To improve the management of water resources on these lands, SERDP and ESTCP support research related to natural resources, including watersheds and surface waters. In fact, ESTCP works to demonstrate the tools, technologies, and methodologies for the management of water resources within an installation. These methodologies seek to limit the degradation of land and surface waters due to erosion, siltation, and runoff.

Recently, Dr. Billy Johnson from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) led a successful project linking watershed and riverine modeling system for DoD installations across varying climatic and hydrologic regions. The system allows land managers to assess outcomes resulting from military activities and support installation sustainability through informed watershed management of water, water quality, contaminants, and land-use impacts. Dr. Johnson successfully applied the system at Calleguas Creek in Ventura County, California and effectively demonstrated how to manage flow, sediments, nutrients, and contaminants within a watershed.

In the future, the linked modeling system will help to determine contaminant loads entering and leaving an installation, and, in certain locations, identify if and to what extent an installation is responsible for the impaired waters. In cases where mitigation needs to take place, the system will also help land managers assess which action scenarios provide the most environmental benefits for the least financial cost. Dr. Johnson’s final report will be available on the website in October.