The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Western Ecology Division (WED) is using VISTAS to visualize, interpret and communicate output generated by the VELMA ecohydrological model, a spatially-distributed watershed simulator that produces terabytes of geospatial data describing the spatial and temporal responses of vegetation, soil, and water resources to changes in land use and climate. We have been using VISTAS since 2011 to support two major research programs under EPA’s Office of Research and Development – The Safe and Sustainable Waters Research Program (SSWR), and The Sustainable and Healthy Communities Research Program (SHC).
The EPA VELMA team is using VISTAS to analyze and interpret VELMA and associated model results for our EPA projects; and to communicate those results at scientific meetings, and to our stakeholder partners who include community, tribal, and state and federal environmental decision makers.
The latest version of VISTAS has proven to be extremely useful, to us and our stakeholders, for understanding and using complex model output in support of environmental assessments and decision making. For example, we are currently using VISTAS’ new vector flow animation feature to identify modeled environmental hotspots, such as polluted stream segments. The animations highlight how hotspots are spatially connected to pollutant sources, and what stakeholders can do to address the problem, such as identifying the best places to locate riparian buffers, rain gardens and other green infrastructure.
Selected 2017 publications, conference presentations and workshops for which VISTAS was used
- Blair, G., S. Hodgson, J. Hall, R. McKane, B. Barnhart, J. Halama, P. Pettus, A. Brookes, AND Joe Ebersole. Landscape and Climate Adaptation Planning for the Mashel Watershed. Salmon Recovery Conference, Wenatchee, WA, April 25 – 27, 2017.
- Halama, J., Bob McKane, B. Barnhart, A. Brookes, P. Pettus, AND K. Djang. Modeling the impact of forest biomass change on the subsequent ground level solar energy to enhance the understanding of ecosystem service tradeoffs. Ecological Society of America Conference, 2017, Portland, OR, August 06 – 11, 2017.
- Halama, J., 2017. D. Dissertation, Penumbra : A Spatiotemporal Shade-Irradiance Analysis Tool with External Model Integration for Landscape Assessment, Habitat Enhancement, and Water Quality Improvement. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
- Halama et al. Modeling the impact of forest biomass change on the subsequent ground level solar energy to enhance the understanding of ecosystem service tradeoffs. Submitted to PLOS ONE, September 2017
- Marois, D., T. DeWitt, R. McKane, C. Brown, and P. Clinton. Predicting effects of environmental change on river inflows to Tillamook Bay, Oregon. American Water Resources Association Spring Specialty Conference, Snowbird, Utah, April 30 – May 03, 2017.
- McKane, R., and B. Barnhart, 2017. VELMA-BlueSky Kansas Flint Hills Workshop II, Kansas City. (Transferred VISTAS software and visualizations showing VELMA-BlueSky rangeland burning and regional air quality impacts to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment).
- McKane, R., 2017. A collaborative vision for a coupled terrestrial-marine-human systems model for the Puget Sound Basin. Presented at the Puget Sound Institute’s Workshop on “Modeling in Support of Puget Sound Recovery”, Seattle, WA.
- McKane, R., J. Halama, P. Pettus, A. Brookes, Bradley Barnhart, K. Djang. 2017. Workshop to transfer VELMA watershed model results to Washington state tribes and state agencies engaged in watershed restoration and salmon recovery planning. Tolt River Workshop, Carnation, WA, July 20 – 21, 2017.
- McKane et al., 2017. Integrated decision support tools for Puget Sound recovery planning. Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference, Vancouver, Canada, April 2017.
- McKane, R., 2017. Presentation to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on the use of VELMA-VISTAS for salmon recovery planning. Corvallis, OR, May 2017.
EPA Postdocs and students currently using VISTAS
- Brad Barnhart, EPA Postdoc
- Jonathan Halama, ORISE Fellow
- Darryl Marois, EPA Postdoc
- Paul Pettus, EPA Student Services Contractor