Evaluation of distributed BMPs in an urban watershed—High resolution modeling for stormwater management

Timothy J. Fry, Reed M. Maxwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The urban environment modifies the hydrologic cycle resulting in increased runoff rates, volumes, and peak flows. Green infrastructure, which uses best management practices (BMPs), is a natural system approach used to mitigate the impacts of urbanization onto stormwater runoff. Patterns of stormwater runoff from urban environments are complex, and it is unclear how efficiently green infrastructure will improve the urban water cycle. These challenges arise from issues of scale, the merits of BMPs depend on changes to small-scale hydrologic processes aggregated up from the neighborhood to the urban watershed. Here, we use a hyper-resolution (1 m), physically based hydrologic model of the urban hydrologic cycle with explicit inclusion of the built environment. This model represents the changes to hydrology at the BMP scale (~1 m) and represents each individual BMP explicitly to represent response over the urban watershed. Our study varies both the percentage of BMP emplacement and their spatial location for storm events of increasing intensity in an urban watershed. We develop a metric of effectiveness that indicates a nonlinear relationship that is seen between percent BMP emplacement and storm intensity. Results indicate that BMP effectiveness varies with spatial location and that type and emplacement within the urban watershed may be more important than overall percent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2700-2712
Number of pages13
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number15
StatePublished - Jul 15 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology


  • green infrastructure
  • hydrology
  • low-impact development
  • modeling
  • urban stormwater
  • water quantity


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