USGS Updates Watershed Model; Enhances Resolution

(January 22, 2020) – The US Geological Survey (USGS) recently released updated SPARROW (SPAtially Referenced Regression on Watershed attributes) models that are helpful tools for land and water resource managers. These models estimate streamflow, total nitrogen and total phosphorus yields and sediment in monitored and unmonitored streams.

In addition to updating the base year data from 2002 to 2012, the most significant improvement with this update is the enhanced resolution. Previously, the models had the capability of assessing watersheds to 132 square kilometers (approximately 51 square miles). Now, the models produce a finer resolution of 2 square kilometers (approximately 0.77 square miles). With less than a square mile resolution, resource managers will be able to take a closer look at the landscape and zero in on stream-specific water quality issues.