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This is the floodplain watershed model developed by MSFA member Mark Walton of NOAA and Dave Chapman, science teacher from Okemos High School with funding for prototype design and production from the MSFA.

This system helps students understand the critical role that floodplains play in the life of a watershed and the impact of unplanned development and human activity in key areas through innovative hands-on simulations.

Developed for education and outreach in cooperation with the Michigan Stormwater-Floodplain Association, this large-scale model allows students to create, test, and visualize how various factors within the watershed can impact storm water runoff and flooding. Through the use of the model, students explore the value of retention ponds and wetlands in flood management. They construct their own levees and witness how stream flow is affected during times of high runoff. They work as a team to find and test solutions to a variety of floodplain problems simulated by the model. A large, clear acrylic tank features a durable, hand-painted resin landform insert and two different rainmaker trays to create different rainfall intensities.

Three custom acrylic “plug and play” headwater trays for wetland, parking lot, and retention-pond simulations also come with a variety of accessories and models for enacting realistic environmental scenarios. Additional materials are provided for constructing levees and other landscape settings. A custom riser allows for stepped changed in slope and broader experimentation, and a staff gage is mounted for clearly and easily measuring river levels.