Ivan Caballero


1 Effects of Watershed Erosion on Stream Channel Formation

Authors: Hong Zhou, Tiao Chang, Ivan Caballero


Streams carry water and sediment naturally by maintaining channel dimensions, pattern, and profile over time. Watershed erosion as a natural process has occurred to contribute sediment to streams over time. The formation of channel dimensions is complex. This study is to relate quantifiable and consistent channel dimensions at the bankfull stage to the corresponding watershed erosion estimation by the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE). Twelve sites of which drainage areas range from 7 to 100 square miles in the Hocking River Basin of Ohio were selected for the bankfull geometry determinations including width, depth, cross-section area, bed slope, and drainage area. The twelve sub-watersheds were chosen to obtain a good overall representation of the Hocking River Basin. It is of interest to determine how these bankfull channel dimensions are related to the soil erosion of corresponding sub-watersheds. Soil erosion is a natural process that has occurred in a watershed over time. The RUSLE was applied to estimate erosions of the twelve selected sub-watersheds where the bankfull geometry measurements were conducted. These quantified erosions of sub-watersheds are used to investigate correlations with bankfull channel dimensions including discharge, channel width, channel depth, cross-sectional area, and pebble distribution. It is found that drainage area, bankfull discharge and cross-sectional area correlates strongly with watershed erosion well. Furthermore, bankfull width and depth are moderately correlated with watershed erosion while the particle size, D50, of channel bed sediment is not well correlated with watershed erosion.

Keywords: watershed, channel, Sediment, stream

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