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Open-File Report 2015-1011

Prepared in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation

Simulated Runoff at Many Stream Locations in the Methow River Basin, Washington

By Mark Mastin

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (4.9 MB)Abstract

A collaborative Bureau of Reclamation-U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) team has been brought together to incorporate a conceptual geomorphic-habitat model with a process-based trophic model to understand the processes important to stream habitat for anadromous fish populations. The Methow River Basin was selected as a test basin for this hybrid geomorphic-habitat/trophic model, and one of the required model inputs is long-term daily runoff at reaches with potential habitat. Leveraging the existence of a watershed model that was constructed for the Methow River Basin by the USGS, the team approached the USGS at the Washington Water Science Center to resurrect the original model and to simulate runoff at many locations in the basin to test the trophic model. Thirteen new flow-routing sites were added to the model, creating a total of 61 sites in the basin where daily runoff was simulated and provided as output. The input file that contains observed meteorological data that drives the watershed model and observed runoff data for comparisons with simulated runoff was extended from water year 2001 to water year 2013 using data from 18 meteorological sites and 12 observed runoff sites. The watershed model included simulation of 16 irrigation diversions that simulated 50-percent water loss through canal seepage. Irrigation was simulated as a constant application of 0.2 inches per day to during the irrigation season, May 1–October 7.

Comparisons of the simulated runoff with observed runoff at six selected long-term streamflow-gaging stations showed that the simulated annual runoff was within +15.4 to -9.6 percent of the annual observed runoff. The simulated runoff generally matched the seasonal flow patterns, with bias at some stations indicated by over-simulation of the October–November late autumn season and under-simulation of the snowmelt runoff months of May and June. Sixty-one time series of daily runoff for a 26-year period representative of the long-term runoff pattern, water years 1988–2013, were simulated and provided to the trophic modeling team.

First posted January 22, 2015

For additional information, contact:
Director, Washington Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
934 Broadway, Suite 300
Tacoma, Washington 98402

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Suggested citation:

Mastin, Mark, 2015, Simulated runoff at many stream locations in the Methow River Basin, Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1011, 22 p.,

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)




Basin Description

Watershed Model

Simulated Runoff at Stream Locations


References Cited

Appendix A. Simulated and Observed Mean Monthly and Annual Runoff for Six Streamflow-Gaging Stations for the Period of Record that the Station Was Active During Water Years 1988–2013

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