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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Surface Water Quality

Hydrologic and Atrazine Simulation of the Cedar Creek Watershed Using the SWAT Model


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 36 No. 2, p. 521-531
    Received: Apr 17, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): gheathman@purdue.edu
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  1. M. Larosea,
  2. G. C. Heathman *b,
  3. L. D. Nortonb and
  4. B. Engelc
  1. a Agronomy Dep., Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN 47907
    b USDA-ARS, National Soil Erosion Research Lab., 275 S. Russell Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2077
    c Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA


One of the major factors contributing to surface water contamination in agricultural areas is the use of pesticides. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) is a hydrologic model capable of simulating the fate and transport of pesticides in an agricultural watershed. The SWAT model was used in this study to estimate stream flow and atrazine (2-chloro-4-(ethylamino)-6-(isopropylamino)-s-triazine) losses to surface water in the Cedar Creek Watershed (CCW) within the St. Joseph River Basin in northeastern Indiana. Model calibration and validation periods consisted of five and two year periods, respectively. The National Agricultural Statistics Survey (NASS) 2001 land cover classification and the Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) database were used as model input data layers. Data from the St. Joseph River Watershed Initiative and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Allen, Dekalb, and Noble counties were used to represent agricultural practices in the watershed which included the type of crops grown, tillage practices, fertilizer, and pesticide application rates. Model results were evaluated based on efficiency coefficient values, standard statistical measures, and visual inspection of the measured and simulated hydrographs. The Nash and Sutcliffe model efficiency coefficients (ENS) for monthly and daily stream flow calibration and validation ranged from 0.51 to 0.66. The ENS values for atrazine calibration and validation ranged from 0.43 to 0.59. All ENS values were within the range of acceptable model performance standards. The results of this study indicate that the model is an effective tool in capturing the dynamics of stream flow and atrazine concentrations on a large-scale agricultural watershed in the midwestern USA.

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Copyright © 2007. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyASA, CSSA, SSSA