Delineating Subwatersheds within the Monongahela National Forest: The Implications of a Watershed Approach on Forest Planning
The Monongahela National Forest comprises over 900,000 acres of biologically diverse land in West Virginia. It is the largest tract of public land within the state, and it attracts anglers, hunters, and other outdoor enthusiasts to the region. It is important to maintain the health and beauty of the forest as it plays a major role in the socioeconomic well-being of the state. The Monongahela National Forest is creating an ecological classification system to characterize its watersheds to improve management practices. For this classification to be successful and useable for modifying the Forest Management Plan, smaller watersheds are required. This project was designed using ESRI ArcGIS 10.1 to create subwatersheds for water sampling locations within the Monongahela National Forest. Specifically, the Spatial Analyst Toolbox and Model Builder were utilized. Nearly two hundred subwatersheds were created for use in this classification system. The methodology has been converted into a ‘How to…’ guide to allow replication for additional sampling locations within the Forest, in other National Forests, as well as future student projects at Virginia Tech. Additionally, application examples were demonstrated to show the ease of performing statistical analyses using this model, such as analyzing temperature and elevation effects. Furthermore, land use implications can be identified within the subwatersheds. The Forest Management Plan could be adapted or maintained based on these land use implications.