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This paper presents the results of a study on the use of continuous stage data to describe the relation between urban development and three aspects of hydrologic condition that are thought to influence stream ecosystems - overall stage variability, stream flashiness, and the duration of extreme-stage conditions. This relation is examined using data from more than 70 watersheds in three contrasting environmental settings - the humid Northeast (the metropolitan Boston, Massachusetts, area); the very humid Southeast (the metropolitan Birmingham, Alabama, area); and the semiarid West (the metropolitan Salt Lake City, Utah, area). Results from the Birmingham and Boston studies provide evidence linking increased urbanization with stream flashiness. Fragmentation of developed land cover patches appears to ameliorate the effects of urbanization on overall variability and flashiness. There was less success in relating urbanization and streamflow conditions in the Salt Lake City study. A related investigation of six North Carolina sites with long term discharge and stage data indicated that hydrologic condition metrics developed using continuous stage data are comparable to flow based metrics, particularly for stream flashiness measures.
Additional Publication Details
Use of stage data to characterize hydrologic conditions in an urbanizing environment
Journal of the American Water Resources Association