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Determining Peak-Discharge Frequencies in an Urbanizing Watershed: A Case Study.

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Technical paper,

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A case study is presented of a hydrologic investigation of the Red Run Drain-Lower Clinton River watershed, an area near Detroit, Michigan, that has undergone urbanization since the 1940s. The purpose of the study was to determine peak-discharge frequencies at gaged and ungaged locations for existing and future conditions. Population density was used as an indicator of urbanization in relationships defining unit hydrograph parameters and hydrologically significant impervious area. Input parameters for a single event rainfall-runoff simulation model HEC-1 were developed to reflect watershed conditions in the years 1940, 1950, 1960 and 1975. The input parameters were verified by reconstructing observed flood events that occurred at these points in time. Sets of synthetic winter and summer storm hyetographs were input to HEC-1 to develop a series of curves for two gaging stations that relate peak discharge to magnitude of synthetic storm for each watershed condition. The curves were used to transform the series of recorded annual peak discharges at each gage to a stationary series that reflects 1975 watershed conditions. Discharge frequency estimates were then developed for ungaged locations using winter and summer synthetic storms that were assigned exceedance frequencies consistent with actual exceedance frequencies at the gaged locations. Projections of future population density were the basis for developing HEC-1 input parameters representing year 2000 and 2025 watershed conditions. Estimates of peak discharge-frequencies for the future conditions were made at the gaged and ungaged locations using the methods described above. Author

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  • Hydrology, Limnology and Potamology
  • Civil Engineering

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