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Open-File Report 2008-1188

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Prepared in cooperation with the Onondaga Lake Partnership

Simulation of Streamflow and Selected Water-Quality Constituents through a model of the Onondaga Lake Basin, Onondaga County, New York— A Guide to Model Application

By William F. Coon

This report is available as a printed product and in PDF Format (2.8 MB)


A computer model of hydrologic and water-quality processes of the Onondaga Lake basin in Onondaga County, N.Y., was developed during 2003–07 to assist water-resources managers in making basin-wide management decisions that could affect peak flows and the water quality of tributaries to Onondaga Lake. The model was developed with the Hydrological Simulation Program-Fortran (HSPF) and was designed to allow simulation of proposed or hypothetical land-use changes, best-management practices (BMPs), and instream stormwater-detention basins such that their effects on flows and loads of suspended sediment, orthophosphate, total phosphorus, ammonia, organic nitrogen, and nitrate could be analyzed. Extreme weather conditions, such as intense storms and prolonged droughts, can be simulated through manipulation of the precipitation record. Model results obtained from different scenarios can then be compared and analyzed through an interactive computer program known as Generation and Analysis of Model Simulation Scenarios for Watersheds (GenScn). Background information on HSPF and GenScn is presented to familiarize the user with these two programs. Step-by-step examples are provided on (1) the creation of land-use, BMP, and stormflow-detention scenarios for simulation by the HSPF model, and (2) the analysis of simulation results through GenScn.

Suggested citation:

Coon, W.F., 2008, Simulation of streamflow and selected water-quality constituents through a model of the Onondaga Lake Basin, Onondaga County, New York—A guide to model application: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008–1188, 27 p., online only.

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