Hydrology and Land Surface Studies
Direct connectivity between upstream and downstream promotes rapid response of lower coastal-plain rivers to land-use change
Article first published online: 22 OCT 2009
Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 36, Issue 20, October 2009
How to Cite
2009), Direct connectivity between upstream and downstream promotes rapid response of lower coastal-plain rivers to land-use change, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L20401, doi:10.1029/2009GL039995., , and (
- Issue published online: 22 OCT 2009
- Article first published online: 22 OCT 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 SEP 2009
- Manuscript Revised: 9 SEP 2009
- Manuscript Received: 16 JUL 2009
 Low-relief fluvial systems that originate in the lower coastal plain and discharge into estuaries are common along passive margins. These watersheds are thought to be disconnected from their termini by floodplains, which buffer the sediment-routing system by sequestration. Here, we present a detailed study of the Newport River, a typical lower coastal-plain system, which reveals high connectivity between watershed and delta. Connectivity is measured as the time lag between initiation of a silviculture operation, which increased landscape erosion, and when the sediment appeared at the bay-head delta. The time lag, measured from aerial photographs and sedimentation rates calculated from 210Pb- and 137Cs-activities in cores from the watershed and delta, is <3 years. Most lower coastal-plain rivers are steeper and have less floodplain accommodation available for storage than their larger counterparts that originate landward of the fall line, which promotes higher connectivity between upstream and downstream.