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United States-Mexican Border Watershed Assessment: Modeling Nonpoint Source Pollution in Ambos Nogales

Laura M. Norman


Ecological considerations need to be interwoven with economic policy and planning along the United States-Mexican border. Non-point source pollution can have significant implications for the availability of potable water and the continued health of borderland ecosystems in arid lands. However, environmental assessments in this region present a host of unique issues and problems. A common obstacle to the solution of these problems is the integration of data with different resolutions, naming conventions, and quality to create a consistent database across the binational study area. This report presents a simple modeling approach to predict nonpoint source pollution that can be used for border watersheds. The modeling approach links a hillslope-scale erosion-prediction model and a spatially derived sediment-delivery model within a geographic information system to estimate erosion, sediment yield, and sediment deposition across the Ambos Nogales watershed in Sonora, Mexico, and Arizona. This paper discusses the procedures used for creating a watershed database to apply the models and presents an example of the modeling approach applied to a conservation-planning problem.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229