Prescribing Runoff-Related BMPs in the Rock Creek Watershed of Washington, D.C.

In the face of increasing average annual rainfall totals, Washington, DC, has sought to better control its runoff over the last decade through the use of Best Management Practices (BMPs). This research seeks to detect where DC could improve its stormwater management in the Rock Creek watershed by using a Python code to recreate the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), a computer model that calculates runoff and prescribes BMPs based on unique land use and soil type characteristics. The Python script is similarly able to identify runoff hotspots and match them to BMPs. With the code’s output, it is possible to compare these ideal locations to existing BMPs in the District. The research found that DC was very proactive in its BMP installation and had almost as many existing BMPs as identified runoff hotspots. However, only a small portion of existing BMPs were located near ideal locations. This indicates that DC may need to better direct where BMPs are installed rather than letting the installation process be controlled by residents.