Web-Based Spatial Decision Support System andWatershed Management with a Case Study


In order to maintain a proper balance between development pressure and water resources protection, and also to improve public participation, efficient tools and techniques for soil and water conservation projects are needed. This paper describes the development and application of a web-based watershed management spatial decision support system, WebWMPI. The WebWMPI uses the Watershed Management Priority Indices (WMPI) approach which is a prioritizing method for watershed management planning and it integrates land use/cover, hydrological data, soils, slope, roads, and other spatial data. The land is divided into three categories: Conservation Priority Index (CPI) land, Restoration Priority Index (RPI) land, and Stormwater Management Priority Index (SMPI) land. Within each category, spatial factors are rated based on their influence on water resources and critical areas can be identified for soil conservation, water quality protection and improvement. The WebWMPI has user-friendly client side graphical interfaces which enable the public to interactively run the server side Geographic Information System to evaluate different scenarios for watershed planning and management. The system was applied for Dry Run Creek watershed (Cedar Falls, Iowa, US) as a demonstration and it can be easily used in other watersheds to prioritize crucial areas and to increase public participation for soil and water conservation projects.

Share and Cite:

Y. Zhang, R. Sugumaran, M. McBroom, J. DeGroote, R. Kauten and P. Barten, "Web-Based Spatial Decision Support System andWatershed Management with a Case Study," International Journal of Geosciences, Vol. 2 No. 3, 2011, pp. 195-203. doi: 10.4236/ijg.2011.23021.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] J. E. Williams, C. A. Wood and M. P. Dombeck, “Watershed Restoration: Principles and Practices,” American Fisheries Society, Philadelphia, 1997.
[2] USEPA, “2000 National Water Quality Inventory Report,” 2011. http://www.epa.gov/305b/2000report.
[3] USEPA, “2002 National Assessment Database,” 2011. http://www.epa.gov/waters/305b/index.html.
[4] B. McCammon, J. Rector and K. Gebhardt, “A Framework for Analyzing the Hydrologic Condition of Watersheds,” USDA Forest Service and USDI Bureau of Land Management, BLM Technical Note 405, Washington, 1998.
[5] J. D. Power, “Building Web-Based Decision Support Systems,” Studies in Informatics and Control, Vol. 11, No. 4, 2002, pp. 291-302.
[6] J. O. Paz, W. D. Batchelor and P. Pedersen, “WebGro: A Web-Based Soybean Management Decision Support System,” Agronomy Journal, Vol. 96, 2004, pp. 1771-1779. doi:10.2134/agronj2004.1771
[7] P. Keenan, “Using a GIS as a DSS Generator,” DSSResources.com, 2004. http://dssresources.com/papers/features/keenan/keenan12172004.html.
[8] D. Bottcher and J. G. Hiscock, “WAMview-a GIS/Land Source Based Approach to Watershed Assessment Model,” Proceedings of 2001 Water Environment Federation (WEF) TMDL Science Issues Conference, St. Louis, 5-7 March 2001, pp. 112-123.
[9] L. H. Weintraub, C. W. Chen and J. Herr, “Demonstration of WARMF: A Decision Support Toll for TMDL Development,” Proceedings Water Environment Federation (WEF) TMDL Science Issues Conference, St. Louis, 4-7 March 2001.
[10] E. Girvetz and F. Shilling, “Decision Support for Road System Analysis and Modification on the Tahoe National Forest,” Environmental Management, Vol. 32, No. 2, 2003, pp. 218-233. doi:10.1007/s00267-003-2970-1
[11] K. S. Bracmort, M. Arabi, J. R. Frankenberger, B. A. Engel and J. G. Arnold, “Modeling Long-Term Water Quality Impact of Structural BMPs,” Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, Vol. 49, No. 2, 2006, pp. 367-374.
[12] R. Miller, D. P. Guertin and P. Heilman, “An Internet-Based Spatial Decision Support System for Rangeland Watershed Management,” Proceedings of the 1st Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds, Benson, 27-30 October 2003, pp. 725-730.
[13] B. S. Steel and E. Weber, “Ecosystem Management, Decentralization, and Public Opinion,” Global Environmental Change, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2001, pp. 119-131. doi:10.1016/S0959-3780(00)00062-5
[14] R. L. Ryan, “Social Science to Improve Fuels Management: A Synthesis of Research on Aesthetics and Fuels Management,” USDA Forest Service, North Central Research Station, General Technical Report. NC-261, USDA, 2005.
[15] P. K. Barten and C. E. Ernst, “Land Conservation and Watershed Management for Source Protection,” Journal of the American Water Works Association, Vol. 96, No. 4, 2004, pp. 121-136.
[16] Z. R. Peng and M. H. Tsou, “Internet GIS: Distributed Geographic Information Services for the Internet and Wireless Networks,” John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, 2003.
[17] C. Rinner, “Web-Based Spatial Decision Support: Status and Research Directions,” Journal of Geographic Information and Decision Analysis, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2003, pp. 14-31.
[18] R. Sugumaran, J. Meyer, and J. Davis, “A Web-Based Environmental Decision Support System (WEDSS) for Environmental Planning and Watershed Management,” Journal of Geographical Systems, Vol. 6, 2004, pp. 1-16. doi:10.1007/s10109-004-0137-0
[19] L. Wang and Q. Cheng, “Web-Based Collaborative Decision Support Services: Concept, Challenges and Application,” Proceedings of the ISPRS Vienna 2006 Symposium, Vienna, 12-14 July 2006.
[20] R. L. Dymond, B. Regmi, V.K. Lohani and R. Dietz, “Interdisciplinary Web-Enabled Spatial Decision Support System for Watershed Management,” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, Vol. 130, No. 4, 2004, pp. 290-300. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9496(2004)130:4(290)
[21] J. B. Choi, A. Engel and R.L. Farnsworth, “Web-Based GIS and Spatial Decision Support System for Watershed Management,” Journal of Hydroinformatics, Vol. 7, No. 3, 2005, pp. 165-174.
[22] R. Sugumaran, C. Davis, J. Meyer, T. Prato and C. Fulcher, “Web-Based Decision Support Tool for Floodplain Management Using High-Resolution DEM,” Journal of Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, Vol. 66, No. 10, 2000, pp. 1261-1265.
[23] B. A. Engel, J. Choi, J. Harbor and S. Pandey, “Web- Based DSS for Hydrologic Impact Evaluation of Small Watershed Land Use Changes,” Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, Vol. 39, No. 3, 2003, pp. 241-249. doi:10.1016/S0168-1699(03)00078-4
[24] USEPA, “Nonpoint Source Pollution: The Nations’ Largest Water Quality Problem, EPA841-F-96-004A,” USEPA, 1996.
[25] B. Bhaduri, J. Harbor, B. Engel, and M. Grove, “Assessing Watershed-Scale, Long-Term Hydrologic Impacts of Land-Use Change Using a GIS-NPS Model,” Environmental Management, Vol. 26, No. 6, 2000, pp. 643-658. doi:10.1007/s002670010122
[26] NRC (National Research Council), “Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing New York City’s Approach,” National Academies Press, Washington, 2000.
[27] L. I. Mcharg, “Design with Nature,” John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, 1969.
[28] I. Heywood, S. Cornelius and S. Carver, “An Introduction to geographical Information Systems,” Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, 1998.
[29] P. A. Longley, M. F. Goodchild, D. J. Maguire and D. W. Rhind, “Geographic Information Systems and Science,” Wiley, 2001.
[30] NRC (National Research Council), “Riparian Areas: Functions and Strategies for Management,” National Academies Press, Washington, 2002.
[31] Y. Zhang and P. K. Barten, “Watershed Forest Management Information System (WFMIS),” Environmental Modeling and Software, Vol. 24, No. 4, 2009, pp. 569-575. doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2008.10.006
[32] Iowa DNR (The Iowa Department of Natural Resources). “Iowa Section (303d) Impaired Waters Listings,” 2011. http://wqm.igsb.uiowa.edu/wqa/303d.html
[33] Y. Shi, J. Asher, J. Bartholic, J. Choi, B. Engel and R. Farnsworth, “An online webGIS-Based Hierarchical Watershed Decision Support System for United States,” Environmental Informatics Archives, Vol. 2, 2004, pp. 838-845.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.