Curve numbers for nine mountainous eastern United States watersheds: seasonal variation and forest cutting
Many engineers and hydrologists use the curve number method to estimate runoff from ungaged watersheds; however, the method does not explicitly account for the influence of season or forest cutting on runoff. This study of observed rainfall and runoff for small, forested watersheds that span the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States showed that curve numbers calibrated for the growing season tended to be smaller than for the dormant season. Forest cutting tended to increase curve numbers. However, the increase in water yield following forest cutting on these watersheds only lasted 1 year to 11 years, thereby limiting the precision of the curve numbers estimated for these brief hydrologic effect periods. This study highlights the need to account for seasonal and forest cutting when estimating runoff from some forested watersheds.