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Effects of limestone quarrying and cement-plant operations on runoff and sediment yields in the Upper Permanente Creek basin, Santa Clara County, California

Water-Resources Investigations Report 89-4130

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Abstract

High sediment loads below headwater areas of the Permanente Creek drainage basin, Santa Clara County, California, have caused flood-control problems in downstream lowland areas. Measured sediment yields in Permanente Creek, which drains areas affected by limestone quarrying and cement-plant operations, were 14 times greater than yields from the West Fork Permanente Creek, which primarily drains parkland. Part of this large disparity in yields is the result of higher runoff/unit of drainage area in the Permanente Creek Basin. Results of rainfall-runoff modeling indicate that the tendency for higher runoff from Permanente Creek results from natural differences in basin physiography. Runoff during periods of high streamflow (when most sediment is transported) is dominated by subsurface flow, which is not affected by human activities. Although artificial features created by human activities seem to have had only minor effects on runoff, they apparently have had major effects on sediment availability. Artificial features accounted for 273 acres (89%) of the 307 acres of active erosional landforms mapped in 1984. Increased availability of sediment in the Permanente Creek basin appears to be indicated by elevated intercepts of sediment-transport curves. A comparison of sediment-transport curves for the West Fork Permanente Creek with similar curves for the Permanente Creek basin under natural conditions suggests that the sediment yield from Permanente Creek is about 3.5 times higher than it would be under natural basin conditions. The increased yield apparently is due to an increase in sediment availability rather than an increase in runoff. (USGS)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Effects of limestone quarrying and cement-plant operations on runoff and sediment yields in the Upper Permanente Creek basin, Santa Clara County, California
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
89-4130
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1989
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey ; Books and Open-File Reports Section [distributor],
Description:
vi, 48 p. :ill. ;28 cm.