Water Budget Modeling and Monitoring


This combined area has been our largest research investment over time and has been active for over ten years. The long-term project (10+ years) has been collaborative between Virginia Tech, Old Dominion University and the University of Kentucky. The program was originally motivated by numerous agency reports and scientific articles that indicated that the primary reason created wetland compensatory mitigation projects had failed to meet regulatory requirements was primarily related to their failure to achieve the timing, depth and duration of water (e.g. the “hydroperiod”) necessary to support the desired wetlands type(s). The primary goal of this research effort is to develop a user-friendly PC-based water budget model that can model a range of non-tidal wetland types including depressional basins, interconnected cells, and sloping wetlands. The model(s) need to account for both groundwater and surface water driven hydrologic conditions, calculate PET, and provide a statistically based system for selecting appropriate rainfall data for use in the model. Funded has included a wide range of field model calibration/testing sites including local and state parks and mitigation bank sites.

An additional area of active investigation is the development of a library of “target hydroperiods” for commonly restored wetlands system types when reference data is not available to utilize with the water budget model to inform initial site design decisions. These target hydroperiods are based on a wide range of data sets from relatively undisturbed wetland systems in the region including mineral flats, riparian wetlands and Carolina bays and will include an expected range of water levels under dry, normal and wet year conditions.

The primary output of this effort to date has been the development of the Wetbud program, which is available in two versions. The Basic Model assumes a flat basin type system and includes a “Wizard” module with preset defaults that can run a simple model in less than 10 minutes. The Advanced Model requires more input effort and data, but models a much wider range of complex wetland systems including sloping sites.

Request for Proposals

Amount awarded to date for main project: $1,697,602

Amount awarded for ongoing maintenance/improvement (University of Kentucky): $115,343

Research Reports

Progress Reports

Journal Articles

Theses and Dissertations

Conference Proceedings

Conference Presentations

Symposia and Workshops

  • 2015 Wetland Mitigation Research Symposium. Presented by Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. and the Peterson Family Foundation in conjunction with the Virginia Association of Wetland Professionals’ Annual Fall Meeting. October 15, 2015. Fredericksburg, VA.