Predicting Water Quality Improvements Resulting From Alternative Hydraulic Management Strategies in a Canal System Using HEC-RAS 4.1.0

Date of Award


Semester of Degree


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Major Professor

Douglas Daley

Steering Committee Member

Laura Lautz

Steering Committee Member

Stephen Shaw


The Butternut Feeder Canal (BFC) is an underutilized, low-gradient, 3200-m long subsection of the Old Erie Canal. It is characterized by shallow, subcritical flow and significant stormwater inputs. Aesthetic water quality problems during summer periods adversely affect recreational use. Increased flow and specific conductivity, with commensurate decrease in water temperature, indicate BFC is gaining groundwater in some sections. A HEC-RAS model was developed to assess alternative strategies to divert water into the BFC from its original freshwater source to improve water quality. While flushing the BFC with fresh water would temporarily improve aesthetic water quality during the low flow period, adverse environmental impacts on the naturalized habitat of source water would result from excessive diversion rates.

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