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Hydrology of channelized and natural headwater streams

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Understanding hydrology of channelized and natural headwater streams is paramount for maintaining ecosystem function and natural flow regimes. Two channelized and two natural headwater streams located in Upper Big Walnut Creek (UBWC) watershed in Ohio, USA, were instrumented to facilitate measurement, characterization and comparison of hydrology to the accepted paradigm for head-water hydrology. Data were collected at 10-min intervals from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2006. Differences in flow magnitudes (average, low and high) were generally greater (P < 0.05) in the channelized streams. Frequency of zero discharge and out-of-bank discharge was significantly greater in the natural streams. Zero discharge occurred in summer and out-of-bank flows occurred in winter. Rate of change variables indicated that channelized streams respond more quickly to rainfall, have significantly greater peak flows, and have slower recession times. In contrast, natural streams tend to be more "flashy". The findings were generally consistent with the accepted paradigm for headwater hydrology and attributed to stream type, presence of subsurface drainage, potential connection to groundwater, and differences in riparian vegetation. The design and installation of management practices that influence hydrology should consider the potential impacts of altering stream hydrology. Management practices such as water-table management have the potential and show promise in altering the hydrology of channelized streams to resemble the hydrology of natural streams.
King, Kevin W. , Smiley, Peter C. Jr. , Fausey, Norman R.
Includes references
Hydrological sciences journal = Journal des sciences hydrologiques 2009 Oct., v. 54, issue 5
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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