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Details of WATBAL
WATBAL originated from the Northern Region's Water Yield Guidelines, also known as R1/R4 Guidelines (Haupt and others 1976) to establish water yields in response to cumulative watershed development and vegetation manipulation and recovery over time. WATBAL was written in FORTRAN and has been evolved using up-to-date methodologies, research findings, and locally derived water/sediment data. WATBAL is currently designed to simulate the potential and most likely effects of primary forest management practices (e.g., timber harvest, road development, and fire) on the responses of watershed and water resource systems with regard to stream flow and sediment regimes (Jones 2005). There are three functional elements in the program:
This includes annual and peak runoff, and time to peak.
The Clearwater National Forest continues to monitor watersheds. Based on the monitoring data, the model is continuously calibrated, validated, and calibrated again, and is believed to be relatively accurate.
WATBAL is only applicable to Central and Northern Rocky Mountains for water yield (annual and peak runoff), the Idaho Batholith physiographic region for sediment yield from surface erosion, and Clearwater National Forest in the southern Idaho Batholith for sediment yield from landslides.
WATBAL tends to over predict sediment in watersheds smaller than 4 mi2; and under predict sediment in watersheds greater than 40 mi2 (Jones 2005).
The program is not user-friendly, and often adding input data requires understanding of the program and the natural processes.
Program output data should be interpreted and used with an understanding of the program and the natural processes. Interpretations should be left to an experienced and trained professional.
USDA Forest Service - RMRS - Moscow Forestry Sciences