Analysis of sediment production from two small semiarid basins in Wyoming

Water-Resources Investigations Report 85-4314




Data were collected at two small, semiarid basins in Wyoming to determine the relation between rainfall, runoff, and sediment production. The basins were Dugout Creek tributary and Saint Marys Ditch tributary. Sufficient rainfall and runoff data were collected at Dugout Creek tributary to determine the source of sediment and the dominant sediment production processes. Because runoff from only one storm occurred in Saint Marys Ditch tributary, emphasis of the study was placed on the analysis of data collected at Dugout Creek tributary. At Dugout Creek tributary, detailed measurements were made to establish the source of sediment. To determine the quantity of material removed from headcuts during the study, two headcuts were surveyed. Aerial photographs were used to define movement of all headcuts. The total quantity of sediment removed from all headcuts between September 26, 1982, and September 26, 1983, was estimated to be 1,220 tons, or 15%-25% of the estimated total sediment load passing the streamflow-gaging station. A soil plot was used to sample upland erosion. A rainfall and runoff modeling system was used to evaluate the interaction between the physical processes which control sediment production. The greatest change in computed sediment load was caused by changing the parameter values for equations used to compute the detachment of sediment particles by rainfall and overland flow resulted in very small changes in computed sediment load. The upland areas were the primary source of sediment. A relationship was developed between the peak of storm runoff and the total sediment load for that storm runoff. The sediment concentration used to compute the total sediment load for the storm runoff was determined from sediment samples collected by two automatic pumping samplers. The coefficient of variation of the relationship is 34% with a 0.99 correlation coefficient. (Author 's abstract)

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Analysis of sediment production from two small semiarid basins in Wyoming
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
iv, 27 p. :ill., map ;28 cm.