The Water Erosion Prediction Project: Erosion Processes

by V. L. Lopes, USDA, United States,
M. A. Nearing, USDA, United States,
G. R. Foster, USDA, United States,
S. C. Finkner, USDA, United States,
J. E. Gilley, USDA, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: National Water Conference


The erosion process on hillslopes is conceptualized in the USDA Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) as being divided into rill and interrill processes. Rill detachment occurs when hydraulic shear stress exceeds the critical shear stress of the soil and when sediment load in the rill is less than transport capacity. Net deposition occurs when sediment load is greater than transport capacity. Runoff peak rate, effective runoff duration, and effective rainfall intensity are the only hydrologic variables required for erosion calculations. This paper presents, with a certain detail, the basic concepts and governing equations used in WEPP to predict soil erosion on hillslopes.

Subject Headings: Erosion | Shear stress | Load bearing capacity | Water management | Slopes | Hydraulic loads | Fluid flow | Sediment transport

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