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Effects of Geomorphic Setting and Urbanization on Wood, Pools, Sediment Storage, and Bank Erosion in Puget Sound Streams

Authors

  • Catalina Segura,

    1. Respectively, Research Assistant (Segura) and Research Professor (Booth), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Box 352700, Seattle, Washington 98195; Research Associate (Segura)
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  • Derek B. Booth

    1. Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Campus Box 8008, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-8008; and President/Senior Geologist (Booth), Stillwater Sciences, 2855 Telegraph Ave. #400, Berkeley, California 94705
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  • Paper No. JAWRA-09-0143-P of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA). Discussions are open until six months from print publication.

(E-Mail/Segura: csegura@ncsu.edu)

Abstract

Segura, Catalina and Derek B. Booth, 2010. Effects of Geomorphic Setting and Urbanization on Wood, Pools, Sediment Storage, and Bank Erosion in Puget Sound Streams. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 46(5):972-986. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2010.00470.x

Abstract:  Interrelationships between urbanization, the near-riparian zone, and channel morphology were examined in 44 lowland stream reaches in the Puget Lowlands of western Washington, United States. Both the degree of urbanization and channel type control channel response to a range of instream and riparian conditions. Some of these relationships are not evident in lumped datasets (i.e., with all channel types and/or degrees of urbanization) and highlight the importance of fluvial geomorphology in determining channel response. We found that in low-urbanized watersheds dominated by forced pool-riffle and plane-bed morphologies, the frequency and distribution of large woody debris (LWD), pool spacing, sediment storage, and bank erosion have a strong relationship with channel confinement and characteristics of near-riparian vegetation. In contrast, high-urbanized reaches dominated by simplified morphologies are substantially less sensitive to the condition of the near-riparian zone (e.g., size of the near-riparian vegetation and the level of channel confinement), due to the common disconnection of stream and floodplain caused by the placement of stabilizing structures in the banks. These structures are typically placed to prevent erosion; however, they also result in fewer LWD and pools, less sediment storage, and higher potential for incision.

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