A comparative analysis of stream response to disturbance in the Pacific Northwest Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/8s45qc29t

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  • Published literature about six Pacific Northwest stream systems was contrasted to provide a regional perspective on channel response to disturbance. This investigation was prompted by a combination of recent environmental legislation, mounting social pressures to plan projects at a drainage basin scale, and the difficulty in defining and predicting the response and recovery of a stream channel to land-use management or storm events. Detailed studies of Redwood Creek, CA; the San Lorenzo River, CA; the South Fork Salmon River, ID; the Upper Middle Fork of the Willamette River, OR; the Alsea River System, OR; and Carnation Creek, B.C. were reviewed and contrasted. Differences in channel response to disturbance appear to be the result of the sequence of storms, the interactions between storms and land-use, the processes that deliver sediment to the channel, the available stream power, and the bank stability. Basins with low debris avalanche and earthflow potential, high stream power, and stable stream banks experience only localized and short-lived response to disturbance. On the other hand, basins with frequent debris avalanches or high earthflow potential and unstable banks experience widespread and persistent response. This study concludes that there must be realization and acceptance of the random nature of channel response and recovery following disturbance. Field evaluation, professional judgement, risk assessment, and adaptive management are the most powerful tools available in the prediction of channel response.
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