Auglaize (Maumee) River (Ohio)

Watershed Characteristics

The Maumee River is a tributary to Lake Erie that begins in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and discharges to a Federal navigation channel at Toledo Harbor in Toledo, Ohio. The Maumee River basin contains eight major subwaters heds, including the Auglaize River, St. Mary’s River, Indiana River, St. Joseph River, Tiffin River, and the upper, middle, and lower main stem watersheds. The Maumee River watershed drains portions of counties within Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, and covers approximately 4.23 million acres.

Land use in the Maumee River watershed varies. Approximately 3.2 million acres (80 percent of the total watershed) is agricultural cropland. However, the watershed also includes forested, industrial, and expanding urban areas. The Maumee River is the largest tributary source of suspended sediment to Lake Erie. Much of this sediment loading is caused by soil erosion, the removal of stream bank vegetation, and stream habitat modification for cultivated croplands. The lower portion of the Maumee River is designated as an Area of Concern, with beneficial use impairments affected by increased urbanization within the watershed. Also of concern are the contaminated dredged materials that are removed from portions of the Federal navigation channel.

Modeling Approach

With FY 1999 funding, a sediment transport model based on QSNET (modified HEC-UNET) was developed for the Maumee River from Defia nce to Waterville and the lower 6 miles of the Auglaize Rive using one year of daily flow data. An existing GIS database was then expanded using Landsat-7 remote sensing data with a focus on DEM development, identification of buffer zones, and changes in urban land use/land cover. An AGNPS (Agricultural Non-Point Source) model was also developed for the Upper Auglaize River watershed. Modeling of various scenarios was conducted to predict erosion, sediment yield, and changes inv sediment delivery, and to track the use of conservation tillage practices. Modeling was completed and a training workshop for state and local partners was convened in February of 2005.

Use and Applications

The model will be used by the NRCS and local soil and water conservation districts to assist landowners in installing conservation and best management practices to reduce runoff (i.e., ditches and stream buffers), and promote conservation tillage. Local universities will use the model to develop land cover and land use databases for watershed and sediment transport models. And the Ohio DNR will be using the model to predict sheet and rill erosion, sediment discharge and its associated contaminant movement, and the role of channel morphology in restoring biological function to agricultural ditches.

Project Partners

For More Information:


Mike Voorhees
USACE, Buffalo District
1776 Niagara Street
Buffalo, NY 14207
Phone: (716) 879-4488