An assessment of a Stream Reach Inventory and Channel Stability Evaluation : predicting and detecting flood-induced change in channel stability Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/6682x662m

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  • Pre-flood (1995), and post-flood (1996) channel stability surveys were conducted on 22 reaches along Oak Creek, Benton County, Oregon in an effort to note if the flood of February 1996 altered the channel and if the channel stability survey that was being used accurately predicted the channels resistance to change resulting from a flood. The channel stability survey that was used was the method described in the 'Channel Stability Evaluation and Stream Reach Inventory' designed by the USDA Forest Service, Northern Region, in Colorado (Pfankuch, 1978). This was a non-parametric study, based on an opportunity to reoccupy survey locations from a previous study. A model was proposed to describe the 1995 ratings as predictions for change should a flood event occur. This predicted change was compared to the actual change that occurred as a result of the 1996 flood in order to test the surveys ability to accurately predict change. Changes in the survey totals, the 15 channel stability indicator items that compose the survey, and the sediment distribution were evaluated within and between years at the reach, station and stream scale. An increase in the percentage of fine gravel occurred at all scales when post-flood and pre-flood sediment distribution was compared. Except for an increase in fine gravel, the stream remained similar to its pre-flood state. In 1995, the stream's channel stability was rated as 'fair', indicating that a moderate amount of change should take place if a flood occurred. The 1995 predictions for change did not match the actual change observed after the February 1996 flood at the three scales when defined by the survey totals. When independently evaluating the fifteen individual channel stability indicator items, a considerable amount of change was detected at the reach level. Although change occurred in the indicator items at each reach, the stream average for each of the independent indicator items was similar between the two years. This may indicate that, although change occurred at the reach level, the stream maintained its physical diversity after the flood. The survey method was unable to accurately predict changes to Oak Creek incurred by the February 1996 flood when viewed at the entire stream level, yet it may be more applicable at the reach level when viewing specific changes to channel stability indicator items. In general, the Stream Reach Inventory and Channel Stability Evaluation is designed for observational efficiency but does not have sufficient scientific basis or measurement precision to accurately predict the extent or type of channel change.
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