Concurrent Session: Wetlands and water management
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM Wed
Title: Some things you always wanted to know about water modeling...but were afraid to ask
Abstract: A variety of hydrologic and hydraulic models (a.k.a "water models") are used in wetland science. To many wetland professionals, these models can seem like black boxes. Modeling discussions often include acronyms, technical terms, and references to computer software that make it difficult to see the big picture of how the use of models can benefit a project. This presentation will hopefully unwrap some of these black boxes by providing an overview of types and examples of hydrologic and hydraulic models used in wetland science. Models of hydrology analyze the water budget of a wetland or watershed, quantifying the water cycle. Many models simulate some parts of the water cycle in more detail than other parts. Models also vary in how they consider time: does the model focus on a snapshot in time, or assume a "steady state" condition? Or does the model simulate changes over time, with a scale that could range from minutes to years? Hydraulic models simulate the physics of flowing water. They provide insight into questions such as how deep will water get; to what elevation will it rise—or fall; how fast, and with how much force. Hydraulic models can be useful in wetland science applications, but some hydraulic models developed for analysis of extreme floods or urban stormwater management may have limited value when applied to a wetland system. I will briefly describe several examples of practical model applications to wetland analysis and restoration. I will discuss how model selection and use should focus on a big-picture understanding of the hydrologic and hydraulic questions that need to be answered, rather than being locked into particular computer software.
Bio: Aaron Volkening is a water resources engineer with more than 20 years of experience in the use of hydrologic and hydraulic models to provide insight on environmental and ecological restoration and protection projects. Other areas of practice include watershed planning, stormwater management, and floodplain management. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Wisconsin.