Water Center


Date of this Version



United States government work


Improved simulations of streamflow and base flow for selected sites within and adjacent to the Mississippi River Alluvial Plain area are important for modeling groundwater flow because surface-water flows have a substantial effect on groundwater levels. One method for simulating streamflow and base flow, random forest (RF) models, was developed from the data at gaged sites and, in turn, was used to make monthly mean streamflow and base-flow predictions at 162 ungaged sites in the study area. Daily streamflow observations and computed base flow from 247 streamgages were used as the basis for the development of these RF models. RF models were constructed from basin and climatic characteristics and related to observed monthly mean streamflow values; models were used to compute monthly base-flow estimates from selected streamgages in and adjacent to the Mississippi River Alluvial Plain extent, which includes streamflows from parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Texas. The explanatory variables for the models were selected to represent physical characteristics and climatic time series for the contributing drainage basins to the streamgages and ungaged locations of interest. The Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency between observed and simulated monthly mean streamflow was greater than 0.80 for 155 of the 247 streamgages, with a median Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency value of 0.83. The streamflow and base-flow simulations can be used to improve inflow values and to verify the Mississippi River Alluvial Plain groundwater flow model. The statistical model, input data, and response data (simulated monthly mean streamflows) are available as a U.S. Geological Survey software release and a United States Geological Survey data release.