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Title: Impacts of land use conversion on bankfull discharge and mass wasting

Author: Riedel, Mark S.; Verry, Elon S.; Brooks, Kenneth N.;

Date: 2005

Source: Journal of Environmental Management. 76: 326-337

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Mass wasting and channel incision are widespread in the Nemadji River watershed of eastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. While much of this is a natural response to glacial rebound, sediment coring and tree ring data suggest that land use has also influenced these erosional processes. We characterized land use, inventoried mass wasting, surveyed stream channels and collected discharge data along segments of five streams in the Nemadji River watershed. Due to natural relief in this region, wetlands and agricultural lands are concentrated in the flatter terrain of the uplands of the Nemadji watershed, while forestland (coniferous or deciduous) is concentrated in the deeply incised (50–200% slope) stream valleys. Bankfull discharge was higher where forests had been converted from coniferous to deciduous forests and where there were fewer wetlands. Mass wasting increased exponentially with bankfull flows. While mass wasting was not correlated with forest type conversion and agricultural land use, it was negatively dependent upon wetland extent in headwater areas. Interactions between the spatial distribution of land use and terrain obfuscate any clear cause-and-effect relationships between land use, hydrology and fluvial processes.

Keywords: Watershed management, forest hydrology, mass wasting, sedimentation

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Riedel, Mark S.; Verry, Elon S.; Brooks, Kenneth N. 2005. Impacts of land use conversion on bankfull discharge and mass wasting. Journal of Environmental Management. 76: 326-337


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