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Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5182

Prepared in cooperation with the San Antonio River Authority

Simulation of Hydrologic Conditions and Suspended-Sediment Loads in the San Antonio River Basin Downstream from San Antonio, Texas, 2000–12

By J. Ryan Banta and Darwin J. Ockerman

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (11.2 MB)Abstract

Suspended sediment in rivers and streams can play an important role in ecological health of rivers and estuaries and consequently is an important issue for water-resource managers. To better understand suspended-sediment loads and transport in a watershed, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the San Antonio River Authority, developed a Hydrological Simulation Program—FORTRAN model to simulate hydrologic conditions and suspended-sediment loads during 2000–12 for four watersheds, which comprise the overall study area in the San Antonio River Basin (hereinafter referred to as the “USGS–2014 model”). The study area consists of approximately 2,150 square miles encompassing parts of Bexar, Guadalupe, Wilson, Karnes, DeWitt, Goliad, Victoria, and Refugio Counties. The USGS–2014 model was calibrated for hydrology and suspended sediment for 2006–12. Overall, model-fit statistics and graphic evaluations from the calibration and testing periods provided multiple lines of evidence indicating that the USGS–2014 model simulations of hydrologic and suspended-sediment conditions were mostly “good” to “very good.” Model simulation results indicated that approximately 1,230 tons per day of suspended sediment exited the study area and were delivered to the Guadalupe River during 2006–12, of which approximately 62 percent originated upstream from the study area. Sample data and simulated model results indicate that most of the suspended-sediment load in the study area consisted of silt- and clay-sized particles (less than 0.0625 millimeters). The Cibolo Creek watershed was the largest contributor of suspended sediment from the study area. For the entire study area, open/developed land and cropland exhibited the highest simulated soil erosion rates; however, the largest contributions of sediment (by land-cover type) were pasture and forest/rangeland/shrubland, which together composed approximately 80 percent of the land cover of the study area and generated about 70 percent of the suspended-sediment load from the study area.

First posted November 3, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Director, Texas Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
1505 Ferguson Lane
Austin, Texas 78754-4501

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Suggested citation:

Banta, J.R., and Ockerman, D.J., 2014, Simulation of hydrologic conditions and suspended-sediment loads in the San Antonio River Basin downstream from San Antonio, Texas, 2000–12: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5182, 46 p.,

ISSN 2328-031X (print)

ISSN 2328-0328 (online)




Simulation of the Hydrologic Conditions and Suspended-Sediment Loads



Appendix 1. Hydrological Simulation Program—FORTRAN Parameter Definitions and Values

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