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Land-use effects on erosion, sediment yields, and reservoir sedimentation: a case study in the Lago Loiza Basin, Puerto Rico

Physical Geography

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Abstract

 Lago Loíza impounded in 1953 to supply San Juan, Puerto Rico, with drinking water; by 1994, it had lost 47% of its capacity. To characterize sedimentation in Lago Loíza, a study combining land-use history, hillslope erosion rates, and subbasin sediment yields was conducted. Sedimentation rates during the early part of the reservoir’s operation (1953– 1963) were slightly higher than the rates during 1964–1990. In the early history of the reservoir, cropland comprised 48% of the basin and erosion rates were high. Following economic shifts during the 1960s, cropland was abandoned and replaced by forest, which increased from 7.6% in 1950 to 20.6% in 1987. These land-use changes follow a pattern similar to the northeastern United States. Population in the Lago Loíza Basin increased 77% from 1950 to 1990, and housing units increased 194%. Sheetwash erosion measured from 1991 to 1993 showed construction sites had the highest sediment concentration (61,400 ppm), followed by cropland (47,400 ppm), pasture (3510 ppm), and forest (2050 ppm). This study illustrates how a variety of tools and approaches can be used to understand the complex interaction between land use, upland erosion, fluvial sediment transport and storage, and reservoir sedimentation. 

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Land-use effects on erosion, sediment yields, and reservoir sedimentation: a case study in the Lago Loiza Basin, Puerto Rico
Series title:
Physical Geography
Volume
27
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2006
Language:
English
Description:
31 p.
First page:
39
Last page:
69
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files(Y/N):
N