Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Brian D Barkdoll


With proper application of Best Management Practices (BMPs), the impact from the sediment to the water bodies could be minimized. However, finding the optimal allocation of BMP can be difficult, since there are numerous possible options. Also, economics plays an important role in BMP affordability and, therefore, the number of BMPs able to be placed in a given budget year. In this study, two methodologies are presented to determine the optimal cost-effective BMP allocation, by coupling a watershed-level model, Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), with two different methods, targeting and a multi-objective genetic algorithm (Non-dominated Sorting Genetic Algorithm II, NSGA-II). For demonstration, these two methodologies were applied to an agriculture-dominant watershed located in Lower Michigan to find the optimal allocation of filter strips and grassed waterways. For targeting, three different criteria were investigated for sediment yield minimization, during the process of which it was found that the grassed waterways near the watershed outlet reduced the watershed outlet sediment yield the most under this study condition, and cost minimization was also included as a second objective during the cost-effective BMP allocation selection. NSGA-II was used to find the optimal BMP allocation for both sediment yield reduction and cost minimization. By comparing the results and computational time of both methodologies, targeting was determined to be a better method for finding optimal cost-effective BMP allocation under this study condition, since it provided more than 13 times the amount of solutions with better fitness for the objective functions while using less than one eighth of the SWAT computational time than the NSGA-II with 150 generations did.

supplement.xlsx (209 kB)
Supplemental file