Author(s): R Lowrance, L S Altier
Riparian buffer zones are effective in mitigating nonpoint source pollution and have been recommended as a best management practice (BMP). The Riparian Ecosystem Management Model (REMM) has been developed for researchers and natural resource agencies as a modeling tool that can help quantify the water quality benefits of riparian buffers under vatying site conditions. Processes simulated in REMM include suface and subsuface hydrology; sediment transport and deposition; carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus transport, removal, and cycling; and vegetation growth. Management options, such as vegetation type, size of the buffer zone, and biomass harvesting also can be simulated. REMM can be used in conjunction with upland models, empirical data, or estimated loadings to examine scenarios of buffer zone design for a hillslope. Evaluation of REMM simulations with field observations shows generally good agreement between simulated and observed data for groundwater nitrate concentrations and water table depths in a mature riparian forest buffer Sensitivity analysis showed that changes that influenced the water balance or soil moisture storage affected the streamflow output. Parameter changes that influence either hydrology or rates of nutrient cycling affected total N transport and plant N uptake.