Great Lakes Tributary Modeling Program
modelsabout sedimentation partners publications resources events


About the Models
Model Types
Model Development
Data Requirements

Completed Models »

Models in Progress »



For questions or comments about the program, contact
Jan Miller.




These models are being developed as a valuable watershed planning tool, assisting state and local resource agencies in evaluating alternatives for soil conservation and non-point source pollution prevention.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Great Lakes Region), in cooperation and coordination with the Great Lakes states, is working to develop sediment transport models for Great Lakes tributaries that discharge to Federal navigation channels or Areas of Concern (AOCs).

By supporting state and local measures that will reduce the loading of sediments and pollutants to tributaries, this work is helping to reduce the need for—and costs of—navigation dredging, while promoting actions to delist Great Lakes AOCs.

photo of sediment-polluted water

The objective of the program is to develop a tool for watershed planning that is usable and will be used by stakeholders who make decisions about soil conservation and non-point pollution prevention measures, and by other stakeholders who might support these activities. Before any model development is started for a particular tributary or watershed, a working group is convened with representatives of agencies and organizations from the watershed, including groups representing soil and water conservation, Remedial Action Plans (RAPs), navigation, municipal and county planning agencies, state and federal resource agencies. This working group helps to define the scope and focus for the model to meet individual watershed needs.

A Cooperative Initiative

model uses

Models that have been developed are already being used by local, state, and Federal agencies for a variety of purposes, including watershed and ecosystem planning, forestry management, navigation maintenance planning, and water quality compliance evaluations.

Learn more!

The Great Lakes Commission provides technical and administrative support to the Corps in the implementation of this important initiative, as directed by Section 516(e) of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996 (PDF). The Commission helps to facilitate the Corps' coordination with the Great Lakes states and the Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control, a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant program for soil conservation that is managed by the Commission.

Planning and Prioritization
A program strategy was developed after surveying state priorities for tributary model development in both 1998 and 2001. Modeling has been initiated at priority tributaries based on state input.

This program receives U.S. Army Corps of Engineers base funding through the annual Energy & Water Appropriations. Recent funding from this source included $978,000 in FY 2013. The President's Budget request for FY 2014 includes $600,000 for this program. The optimal funding for this program in FY 2015 would be $1.5 million.

Accomplishments and Future Directions
Models developed at more than 30 tributaries are being used by local, state and federal agencies for watershed and ecosystem planning, forestry management, navigation maintenance planning, and water quality compliance evaluations.

The Corps is providing training sessions throughout the Great Lakes Basin on the use of web-based tools developed under this program. These tools enable even the more casual user the ability to examine the impacts of land use changes and best management practices (BMPs) for soil conservation and nonpoint source pollution prevention, and can continue to support watershed planning at smaller tributaries and sub-basins.

The Corps continues to seek partnerships to encourage the use of these models within watersheds to reduce the amount of sedimentation and pollution that occurs within Great Lakes tributaries. The value of this program will grow as model development becomes more integrated with watershed planning, TMDL evaluations, RAPs and Lakewide Management Plans (LaMPs).

Download the Great Lakes Tributary Modeling Program Fact Sheet (2-2015)

Great Lakes Commission des Grands Lacs.  2805 S. Industrial Highway, Suite 100.  Ann Arbor, MI  48104-6791.  phone: 734/971.9135.  fax: 734/971-9150.  www.glc.org. USACE, Detroit District GLIN Partner