Postprint version. Published in Water International, Volume 26, Issue 3, September 1, 2001, pages 435-443.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Misgana K. Muleta was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
Non-point source pollution is recognized internationally as a critical environmental problem. In Illinois, soil erosion from agricultural lands is the major source of such pollution. The erosion process, which has been accelerated by human activity, tends to reduce crop productivity and leads to subsequent problems from deposition on farmlands and in water bodies. Comprehensive watershed management, however, can be used to protect these natural resources. In this study, a discrete time optimal control methodology and computational model are developed for determining land use and management alternatives that minimize sediment yield from agriculturally-dominated watersheds. The solution methodology is based on an interface between a genetic algorithm and the US. Department of Agriculture s Soil and Water Assessment Tool. Model analyses are performed on a farm field basis to allow capture of different, local stakeholder perspectives, and crop management alternatives are based on a three-year rotation pattern. The decision support tool is applied to the Big Creek watershed located in the Cache River basin of Southern Illinois. The application demonstrates that the methodology is a valuable tool in advancing comprehensive watershed management. The study represents part of an ongoing research effort to develop an even more comprehensive decision support tool that uses multicriteria evaluation to address social, economic, and hydrologic issues for integrative watershed management.
Civil and Environmental Engineering