Hutchins Creek Watershed (New York)

Watershed Characteristics

The Hutchins Creek Watershed is located in St. Lawrence County New York near Massena. The watershed ranges from Louisville in the north down past Norfolk in the southeast.

Hutchins Creek

Woody wetlands (swamp) cover roughly 30 percent of the watershed with only deciduous forest covering a comparable portion of the watershed at 27 percent. Pasture/hay covers 11 percent of the area, as well as tracts of land populated by evergreen forest, shrub, open water, and low-density residential land.

Stream channels throughout the watershed are a potential source of sediment to Hutchins creek resulting from livestock access, beaver activity, meandering stream channel, lack of buffer and riparian zones, steep banks, and clear cut/logging areas.

Modeling Approach

The Hawkins Creek Sediment Transport Analysis and Regional Training (START) Assessment was used to demonstrate the use of web-based tools for determining potential areas of erosion and sediment supply and transport within the watershed.

Areas of potential erosion in Hutchins Creek Watershed.

The START Assessment used the High Impact Targeting (HIT) tool, the Long-Term Hydrologic Impact Assessment Low Impact Development (L-THIA LID) tool, and the web-based Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model. Each tool was used independently of the others and provided results used to assist in prioritizing areas of erosion potential.

HIT is a decision support tool for multi-scale prioritization of agricultural areas that combines an erosion model and a sediment delivery model to calculate annual erosion and sediment loading in watersheds.

L-THIA LID is a decision support tool that evaluates the benefits of low-impact development practices by producing existing runoff depth and volume along with nonpoint source pollution loading.

The WEPP Watershed Online GIS Interface is a small-watershed scale model developed to quantify the impact of land management practices in watersheds and identifying problematic areas.

Additionally, field reconnaissance was used to better understand watershed characteristics and allowed researchers to cover areas not included in the online tools. Results from the online tools and field reconnaissance were overlaid on a watershed map.

Use and Application

The purpose of this START Assessment was to demonstrate the use of the available online tools and provide a basis for further studies of watersheds. The assessment was prepared for the St. Lawrence County Soil and Water Conservation District in Canton, New York.

Field observations overlaid on WEPP results.

Areas of concern regarding potential of erosion and sediment supply locations were identified from the results of the assessment. The online tools and procedures described in this assessment can be used to define areas of potential erosion and to compare results of certain BMPs within the watershed.

The tools used in this assessment are available to local stakeholders to evaluate management options for the watershed with the overall goal of reducing the loading of sediments and pollutants to tributaries in order to enhance Great Lakes water quality, delist Areas of Concern, and reduce the need for navigation dredging.

Click here to view the full assessment. 

Project Partners

Contact Information

Mike Voorhees
USACE, Buffalo District
1776 Niagara Street
Buffalo, NY 14207
Phone: (716) 879-4488
Michael.E.Voorhees@usace.army.mil