Sediment Modeling in the Colorado Front Range

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Soil erosion adds constituents to streams, altering water chemistry and streambed morphology. This can adversely affect aquatic life, water resource infrastructure and regulation due to increased contaminants and sediment buildup above reservoirs. The effects of drought and wildfire on sedimentation will pose a critical challenge in the future and physically-based modeling offers a potential framework for mitigation. Through a model ensemble, this project will compare the output of empirical, conceptual and physically-based sediment models over three large catchments (>1000 square km) in the Colorado Front Range in order to simulate suspended sediment concentrations throughout time. This project is currently in the prliminary stages, with initial findings soon to come.