During 1976-81 data were collected at three sites on the Black River near Dunn, N.C., to define the effects of channel excavation on stream quality and on ground-water levels in nearby areas. One of the data sites was located upstream from the five-mile long excavated reach and served as a background station. Changes in various characteristics of this Coastal Plain stream were determined by comparing data collected before, during, and after the construction period. After deepening of the channel by more than 2 feet, ground-water levels within 100 feet of the stream declined a proportionate amount; however, levels in a well 500 feet from the stream were unchanged. Flow velocities during channel deepening were 100 percent higher than velocities prior to construction. An average increase in water temperatures of about one degree Celsius was observed following removal of trees and brush that provided shading to the stream. After construction, concentrations of dissolved oxygen also increased. The percent of saturation increased 20 to 25 percent in the lower values. Maximum concentrations of suspended sediment increased from about 75 mg/L prior to construction to over 2000 mg/L during construction. Within a year after construction, levels of suspended sediment during stormflow had decreased but remained 5 to 10 times greater than preconstruction levels. Little or no change occurred in pH, total-dissolved solids, nitrogen, phosphorus, and bacteria.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
The effects of channel excavation on water-quality characteristics of the Black River and on ground-water levels near Dunn, North Carolina