About the research
Hydrologic analysis is a critical part of transportation design because it helps ensure that hydraulic structures are able to accommodate the flow regimes they are likely to see. This analysis is currently conducted using computer simulations of water flow patterns, and continuing developments in elevation survey techniques result in higher and higher resolution surveys. Current survey techniques now resolve many natural and anthropogenic features that were not practical to map and, thus, require new methods for dealing with depressions and flow discontinuities. A method for depressional analysis is proposed that uses the fact that most anthropogenically constructed embankments are roughly more symmetrical with greater slopes than natural depressions. An enforcement method for draining depressions is then analyzed on those depressions that should be drained. This procedure has been evaluated on a small watershed in central Iowa, Walnut Creek of the South Skunk River, HUC12 # 070801050901, and was found to accurately identify 88 of 92 drained depressions and place enforcements within two pixels, although the method often tries to drain prairie pothole depressions that are bisected by anthropogenic features.