New Waves April 2010

Breaking news about water resources research and education in Texas

TWRI grant recipient uses SWAT to analyze community planning strategies

Bo Yang, a former doctorate student in urban and regional science at Texas A&M University, examined watershed stormwater outflow under different community planning approaches using the SWAT hydrologic model in a project supported by the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI). Yang’s work analyzed the ecological planning approach used in The Woodlands, Texas. His advising professors were Dr. Ming-Han Li and Dr. Chang-Shan Huang, both of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning at Texas A&M.

“The objective is to determine which community planning approach—conventional low-density, compact high-density, or The Woodlands approach—causes less stormwater runoff,” Yang said.

For the 2008-2009 academic year, the project received a $5,000 TWRI grant provided by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as part of the National Institutes for Water Research annual research program. TWRI is the designated institute for water resources research in Texas.

“This USGS grant helped me improve my research capabilities substantially,” Yang said. “It was a valuable learning experience.”

His results showed that The Woodlands ecological planning approach generates the least amount of stormwater runoff among the planning scenarios examined. The study indicated that using soil permeability to coordinate land use and development density is a viable solution to mitigate development impacts from a stormwater management perspective.

Yang is now an assistant professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at Utah State University.

For more information on Yang’s project, see his final report. For more information on TWRI’s USGS Research Grant Program, visit

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