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Assessment of an in-channel redistribution technique for large woody debris management in Locust Creek, Linn County, Missouri

Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5120

Prepared in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Department of Conservation
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ORCID iD
https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175120

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Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation and Missouri Department of Natural Resources, completed a study to assess a mechanical redistribution technique used for the management of large woody debris (LWD) jams in Locust Creek within Pershing State Park and Fountain Grove Conservation Area, Linn County, Missouri. Extensive LWD jams were treated from 1996 to 2009 using a low-impact technique in which LWD from the jams was redistributed to reopen the channel and to mimic the natural geomorphic process of channel migration and adjustment to an obstruction. The scope of the study included the comparison of selected channel geometry characteristics and bed material particle-size distribution in seven LWD treatment reaches with that of adjacent untreated reaches (unaffected by LWD accumulations) of Locust Creek. A comparison of 1996 and 2015 survey cross sections in treated and untreated reaches and photograph documentation were used to assess channel geomorphic change and the stability of redistributed LWD. The physical characteristics of LWD within jams present in the study reach during 2015–16 also were documented.

Based on the general lack of differences in channel metrics between treated and untreated reaches, it can be concluded that the mechanical redistribution technique has been an effective treatment of extensive LWD jams in Locust Creek. Channel alterations, including aggradation, streamflow piracy, and diversions, have resulted in temporal and spatial changes in the Locust Creek channel that may affect future applications of the redistribution technique in Pershing State Park. The redistribution technique was used to effectively manage LWD in Locust Creek at a potentially lower financial cost and reduced environmental disturbance than the complete removal of LWD.

A comparison of four channel metrics (bankfull cross-sectional area, channel width, streamflow capacity, and width-depth ratio) for individual treatment reaches with adjacent untreated reaches indicated no statistically significant difference in most comparisons. Where statistically significant differences in channel metrics were determined between individual reaches, the channel metrics in treatment reaches were significantly less than adjacent untreated reaches in some comparisons, and significantly greater than adjacent untreated reaches in others. Without immediate posttreatment cross sections in treated and untreated reaches for comparison, it is impossible to say with certainty that a lack of significant differences in channel metrics is a result of posttreatment channel adjustment or, conversely, that any significant differences that remain are a result of the treatment of LWD.

Characteristics of LWD in accumulations sampled within the study area in 2015 indicate that most sampled pieces were in the 1–2 foot diameter size class, the 5–16 foot length class, and the advanced decay class. Most of documented LWD pieces were loose and not buried, about 20 percent on average had a root wad attached, and about 6.5 percent on average were sawn logs. Most of sampled material was less than one-half of the bankfull channel width, indicating it was easily transportable, and the advanced decay class of material entering the study area indicated that it was likely sourced from outside of Pershing State Park.

Redistributed LWD associated with treatment seems to be intact in the 1996 treated reaches from direct observation and from inference because there was net channel aggradation between 1996 and 2015 in comparison surveys. The change in channel area resulting from aggradation in time (1996 to 2015) in treated and untreated reaches exceeded the differences in channel characteristics between the treated and untreated channels in 2015 surveys.

Suggested Citation

Heimann, D.C., 2017, Assessment of an in-channel redistribution technique for large woody debris management in Locust Creek, Linn County, Missouri: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5120, 25 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175120.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Assessment of In-Channel Large Woody Debris Redistribution Technique
  • Summary and Conclusions
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Assessment of an in-channel redistribution technique for large woody debris management in Locust Creek, Linn County, Missouri
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2017-5120
DOI:
10.3133/sir20175120
Year Published:
2017
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Missouri Water Science Center
Description:
Report: iv, 25 p.; 2 Tables
Country:
United States
State:
Missouri
County:
Linn County
Other Geospatial:
Locust Creek
Online Only (Y/N):
Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
Y