Classification of ephemeral, intermittent, and perennial stream reaches using a TOPMODEL-based approach

Journal of the American Water Resources Association
By: , and 

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Abstract

Whether a waterway is temporary or permanent influences regulatory protection guidelines, however, classification can be subjective due to a combination of factors, including time of year, antecedent moisture conditions, and previous experience of the field investigator. Our objective was to develop a standardized protocol using publicly available spatial information to classify ephemeral, intermittent, and perennial streams. Our hypothesis was that field observations of flow along the stream channel could be compared to results from a hydrologic model, providing an objective method of how these stream reaches can be identified. Flow-state sensors were placed at ephemeral, intermittent, and perennial stream reaches from May to December 2011 in the Appalachian coal basin of eastern Kentucky. This observed flow record was then used to calibrate the simulated saturation deficit in each channel reach based on the topographic wetness index used by TOPMODEL. Saturation deficit values were categorized as flow or no-flow days, and the simulated record of streamflow was compared to the observed record. The hydrologic model was more accurate for simulating flow during the spring and fall seasons. However, the model effectively identified stream reaches as intermittent and perennial in each of the two basins.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Classification of ephemeral, intermittent, and perennial stream reaches using a TOPMODEL-based approach
Series title Journal of the American Water Resources Association
DOI 10.1111/1752-1688.12352
Volume 51
Issue 6
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Kentucky Water Science Center
Description 21 p.
First page 1739
Last page 1759
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N