Integrated surface-ground water modeling in wetlands with improved methods to simulate vegetative resistance to flow

Mauro Nalesso, Florida International University


In topographically flat wetlands, where shallow water table and conductive soil may develop as a result of wet and dry seasons, the connection between surface water and groundwater is not only present, but perhaps the key factor dominating the magnitude and direction of water flux. Due to their complex characteristics, modeling waterflow through wetlands using more realistic process formulations (integrated surface-ground water and vegetative resistance) is an actual necessity. This dissertation focused on developing an integrated surface – subsurface hydrologic simulation numerical model by programming and testing the coupling of the USGS MODFLOW-2005 Groundwater Flow Process (GWF) package (USGS, 2005) with the 2D surface water routing model: FLO-2D (O’Brien et al., 1993). The coupling included the necessary procedures to numerically integrate and verify both models as a single computational software system that will heretofore be referred to as WHIMFLO-2D (Wetlands Hydrology Integrated Model). An improved physical formulation of flow resistance through vegetation in shallow waters based on the concept of drag force was also implemented for the simulations of floodplains, while the use of the classical methods (e.g., Manning, Chezy, Darcy-Weisbach) to calculate flow resistance has been maintained for the canals and deeper waters. A preliminary demonstration exercise WHIMFLO-2D in an existing field site was developed for the Loxahatchee Impoundment Landscape Assessment (LILA), an 80 acre area, located at the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wild Life Refuge in Boynton Beach, Florida. After applying a number of simplifying assumptions, results have illustrated the ability of the model to simulate the hydrology of a wetland. In this illustrative case, a comparison between measured and simulated stages level showed an average error of 0.31% with a maximum error of 2.8%. Comparison of measured and simulated groundwater head levels showed an average error of 0.18% with a maximum of 2.9%. The coupling of FLO-2D model with MODFLOW-2005 model and the incorporation of the dynamic effect of flow resistance due to vegetation performed in the new modeling tool WHIMFLO-2D is an important contribution to the field of numerical modeling of hydrologic flow in wetlands.

Subject Area

Hydrologic sciences|Civil engineering

Recommended Citation

Nalesso, Mauro, "Integrated surface-ground water modeling in wetlands with improved methods to simulate vegetative resistance to flow" (2009). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3394835.