A Python-based GIS simulation of a water balance for wetland decision-making
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Many efforts have been undertaken to restore, maintain, and remediate impacted and lost wetlands. Wetlands provide natural habitat for amphibians and significantly support the ecosystem. Researchers have dedicated their continuous efforts to support these wetlands. This research is an effort to support wetland functionality by developing an assessment tool that helps in decision making for mitigation efforts. It also will assist in analyzing landscape to determine how much and for how long water will exist on the soil surface necessary for the existence of wetlands. The primary goal was to represent infiltration and evapotranspiration spatially and temporally by the creation of a Python code that can be used automatically and that produces a GIS representation of results. One way to connect these two main components and other hydrological components such as excess water, direct evaporation from open water surface, and drainage is through soil water content. The overall goal was to apply water balance at a potential wetland site to determine the potential existence of the excess water component. The study area is a location within Pershing State Park within Linn County, Missouri. Three goals have been set in this research in order to achieve the ultimate goal: simulate evapotranspiration (ET); 2) simulate infiltration using the Green Ampt (G-A) model, and 3) represent the simultaneous processes of ET and infiltration by linking them through soil water content. The effort used publicly available data. Various tests indicate that the results produced by GAINS2 quantify the various hydrological parameters consistent with the applicable hydrological processes. GAINS2 is a single tool that can be used for long-term simulation of integrated hydrologic processes to support crop management and decision making for wetland mitigation programs.