The Wheeling Creek basin, which is located primarily in Belmont County, Ohio, experienced three damaging floods and four less severe floods during the 29-month period from February 1979 through June 1981. Residents of the basin became concerned about factors that could have affected the severity and frequency of out-of-bank floods. In response to those concerns, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, undertook a study to estimate peak discharges and recurrence intervals for the seven floods of interest, provide information on current and historical mining-related stream-channel fill or scour, and examine storm-period subbasin contributions to the sediment load in Wheeling Creek.
Streamflow data for adjacent basins, rainfall data, and, in two cases, flood-profile data were used in conjunction with streamflow data subsequently collected on Wheeling Creek to provide estimates of peak discharge for the seven floods that occurred from February 1979 through June 1981. Estimates of recurrence intervals were assigned to the Peak discharges on the basin of regional regression equations that relate selected basin characteristics to peak discharge with fixed recurrence intervals. These estimates indicate that a statistically unusual number of floods with recurrence intervals of 2 years or more occurred within that time period.
Three cross sections located on Wheeling Creek and four located on tributaries were established and surveyed quarterly for approximately 2 years. No evidence of appreciable stream-channel fill or scour was observed at any of the cross sections, although minor profile changes were apparent at some locations. Attempts were made to obtain historical cross-section profile data for comparison with current cross-section profiles; however, no usable data were found.
Excavations of stream-bottom materials were made near the three main-stem cross-section locations and near the mouth of Jug Run. The bottom materials were examined for evidence of recently deposited sediments of mining-related origin. The only evidence of appreciable mining-related sediment deposition was found at Jug Run, and, to a lesser extent, at one main-stem site.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Flooding and sedimentation in Wheeling Creek basin, Belmont County, Ohio