LNWB Ch05 Land Cover

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Created: Aug 02, 2016 at 12:20 a.m.
Last updated: Oct 05, 2016 at 2:53 p.m.
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Land cover mapping represents the coverage of vegetation, bare, wet and built surfaces (developed and natural surfaces) at a given point in time. The existing land cover map was developed by Whatcom County Planning and Development Services (PDS) during spring of 2012 for the Lower Nooksack Water Budget. The dataset represents ground conditions between 2006 and 2010. The project team created the existing condition land cover dataset by combining local and regional datasets to get the most accurate and current data for the U.S. and Canadian portions of WRIA 1. The development of the existing land cover map includes 14 land cover categories; each has a unique impact on the water balance. The agricultural land cover class was further classified into crop types.

Land cover and crop types influence evapotranspiration and infiltration, playing an important role in determining the watershed’s water balance. Land cover data provides information used to parameterize the water movement through the vegetation canopy and water demand of plant evapotranspiration in the estimation of the water budget by the hydrology model.

Land cover changes over time, as exemplified by comparing the existing and historic land cover data in WRIA 1, displayed in Figure 1 and Figure 2. Historic land cover mapping developed by Utah State University (Winkelaar, 2004) as part of the WRIA 1 Watershed Management Project was used to represent land cover/land use for the undepleted flow simulations. This work was done using a suite of studies and ancillary datasets, including turn of the century GLO maps and NRCS soils data. Methods and sources more thoroughly described in Mapping Methodology and Data Sources for Historic Conditions Landuse/ Landcover Within Water Resource Inventory Area 1 (WRIA1) Washington, U.S.A. The historic land cover map includes 10 land cover classes.

Within the Topnet-WM hydrologic model used to estimate the Lower Nooksack Water Budget, the local land cover type is used to parameterize the water movement through the vegetation canopy and water demand for plant evapotranspiration, as described in detail in Chapter 2: Water Budget Model. Water input to the canopy comes from rainfall, snowmelt, and irrigation. The process of some water retention by the canopy is known as interception. Potential evapotranspiration is first satisfied from the canopy interception storage. Water that passes through the canopy to the soil becomes input to the vadose zone soil storage. The vadose zone is the unsaturated soil region above the water table. Potential evapotranspiration not satisfied from the interception storage becomes potential evapotranspiration from the vadose zone soil storage. The model calculates crop evapotranspiration using the Penman-Monteith method. Irrigation requirements are calculated using potential crop evapotranspiration and irrigation efficiency. Land cover mapping also identifies impervious surfaces where water directly runs off, as well as lakes and wetlands where water is stored and evaporates.

This resource is a subset of the Lower Nooksack Water Budget (LNWB) Collection Resource.

Subject Keywords



Coordinate System/Geographic Projection:
WGS84 EPSG:4326
Coordinate Units:
['Decimal degrees']
North Latitude
East Longitude
South Latitude
West Longitude

Collection Contents

Add Title Type Owners Sharing Status Remove
LNWB Ch05 Land Cover - data processing Resource Jimmy Phuong Public & Shareable
LNWB Ch05 Land Cover - subbasins, charts, and tables Resource Jimmy Phuong Public & Shareable
LNWB Ch05 Land Cover - shape files Resource Jimmy Phuong Public & Shareable
LNWB Ch05 Land Cover - layers Resource Jimmy Phuong Public & Shareable
LNWB Ch05 Land Cover - parameter values by land cover class Resource Jimmy Phuong Public & Shareable

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Related Resources

This resource belongs to the following collections:
Title Owners Sharing Status My Permission
Lower Nooksack Water Budget (LNWB) Christina Norton · Jimmy Phuong  Public &  Shareable Open Access
Lower Nooksack Water Budget (LNWB) Bert Rubash  Private &  Shareable None


Funding Agencies

This resource was created using funding from the following sources:
Agency Name Award Title Award Number
WRIA 1 Joint Board Lower Nooksack Water Budget Whatcom County Contract 201111021


People or Organizations that contributed technically, materially, financially, or provided general support for the creation of the resource's content but are not considered authors.

Name Organization Address Phone Author Identifiers
Mary Dumas Dumas & Associates
Mariza Costa-Cabral Hydrology Futures
Bracken Capen Washington State University

How to Cite

Gill, P., J. Greenberg, C. Bandaragoda (2016). LNWB Ch05 Land Cover, HydroShare, http://www.hydroshare.org/resource/479ae9daeec34b48885f7645ea0966b4

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.



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