Featured Data

The Influence of Legacy Phosphorus on Lake Water Quality in the Yahara Watershed, WI

April 1, 2020

Susanne Grossman-Clarke


Motew, M., S. Carpenter, C. Kucharik, and E. Booth. 2020. WSC – The Influence of Legacy P on Lake Water Quality ver 1. Environmental Data Initiative. https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/1bada17c0e32d1a0e634146bc05f75dc.


This data package represents an example of published model code, including model input, output, and processing scripts. Generally, model based datasets archived in the EDI and other data repositories may include the model code itself, input data, model parameter settings, and output data. Based on our experience with this process we are currently developing best practices for publishing model software code and data. Those guidelines will be available for our community on our “Data package best practices” GitHub page soon.

The archived model code and output is from a suite of numerical models that was used to investigate the influence of legacy P on water quality in the Yahara Watershed of southern Wisconsin, USA (Motew et al. 2017) as part of the NSF funded project “Water Sustainability and Climate (WSC) in the Yahara Watershed”. The Yahara lakes are among the world’s most studied bodies of freshwater. Changes in climate and land use are impacting their health and could continue to do so into the future. An impact of particular concern is phosphorus pollution from agricultural and urban areas.

The watershed modeling framework underlying this featured data package can simulate an array of ecosystem services, including land-to-lake flows of water, sediment, and nutrients, and surface water quality. The framework (Figure 1) includes process-based representation of natural and managed ecosystems (Agro- IBIS), hydrologic routing of water, sediment, and nutrients through the surface hydrologic network (THMB), and prediction of Secchi disk depth (a measure of lake transparency), summertime lake total phosphorus (TP) concentration, and the probability of hypereutrophy in each lake (Yahara Water Quality Model). For detailed description of modeling approach please see Motew et al. (2017).

Using five alternative scenarios of antecedent P storage (legacy P) in soils and channels under historical climate conditions, outcomes of P yield from the landscape, lake P loading, and three lake water quality indicators were simulated. Data and code may also be found in https://github.com/SRCarpen/Yahara2070LakeModel_Fits2data.git.


Motew, M., Chen, X., Booth, E.G. et al. The Influence of Legacy P on Lake Water Quality in a Midwestern Agricultural Watershed. Ecosystems 20, 1468–1482 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-017-0125-0.

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