First Advisor

William Fish

Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Civil & Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering




Runoff -- Oregon -- Johnson Creek Watershed (Clackamas County and Multnomah County) -- Mathematical models, Streamflow -- Oregon -- Johnson Creek Watershed (Clackamas County and Multnomah County) -- Forecasting -- Mathematical models, Hydrologic models




Johnson Creek, in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan region, has several pollutants on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 303(d) list including excess heat, low dissolved oxygen, and harmful bacteria. Understanding streamflow response to precipitation events is an important component to evaluating water quality trends and calculating the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for pollutants of concern. Investigating the streamflow-precipitation relationship on the subwatershed scale can give insight to the hydrologic response of a given watershed. However, developing rating curves for several subwatersheds can be cost and time prohibitive. The objective of this project was to develop a hydrologic model using the Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS), developed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to validate streamflow estimates for subwatersheds lacking a significant period of record.

ESRI's ArcMap, a geographic information system (GIS), was used to characterize the target drainage basins and extract basin-specific parameters for upper watersheds of Johnson Creek. The Johnson Creek Upper Watershed (JCUW) model was calibrated to an existing streamflow gage at Regner Road, in Gresham, Oregon. Calibrated parameters were substituted into a second PRMS model characterizing the Sunshine Creek Subwatershed, which lies within the JCUW. The Sunshine Creek model was used to validate a flow time-series derived from a pressure transducer and a rating curve.


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A research project report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

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