Development And Testing Of Watershed Simulation Models

Watershed simulation models are increasingly being relied on to help direct land-use planning and watershed management activities.  A variety of computer models have been developed to simulate water, sediment, chemical, and microbial transport within both urban and rural watersheds.  However, models must first be calibrated, validated, and possibly refined, in order to be properly applied in a specific geographic setting.   Within this research, we are calibrating and testing the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) for use in rural watersheds in Nova Scotia.  We are also developing additional model components, specifically for the simulation of nutrient loads from on-site residential wastewater systems, that can be linked with SWAT simulations. 

This work is primarily being conducted in the Cornwallis River Watershed in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia.  The Annapolis Valley is the most intensively farmed region of the province.  The Thomas Brook Watershed is a 750 ha catchment located in the headwaters of the watershed.  The Thomas Brook Watershed has been intensively monitored since 2004 as part of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Watershed Evaluation of Beneficial Management Practices Program (WEBS).   SWAT model calibration and validation is being undertaken for the Thomas Brook Watershed with funding and collaboration  from the WEBS program.  Once validated at this scale, further model validation will be conducted at larger spatial scales, and a variety of BMP scenarios will be evaluated with the validated model.