Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (925 KB)

Title: Morphology and channel evolution of small streams in the southern Blue Ridge mountains of western North Carolina

Author: Leigh, David S.;

Date: 2010

Source: Southeastern Geographer 50(4):397-421

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Small streams are understudied in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains, yet they constitute a huge portion of the drainage network and are relevant with respect to human impact on the landscape and stream restoration efforts. Morphologies of 44 streams (0.01 to 20 km2 watersheds) from western North Carolina are characterized and couched in the context of historical channel evolution and human impacts. Topographic cross-sections and longitudinal gradients, channel and floodplain widths, and bed particle sizes are the basic data. Regression equations describe channel form. New optically stimulated luminescence, radiocarbon, and cesium-137 dates resolve channel evolution. Results indicate that channels behave in a predictable linear fashion of changing in response to increasing watershed size. However, forested reaches have much wider channels than pastured/grassland reaches, indicating more than 50 percent loss of instream habitat related to conversion of riparian forest to pasture/grassland in some cases. Floodplain widths conservatively indicate long-term (century-scale) lateral erosion rates of about 0.5 to 5.0 cm/yr. Colluvial inputs are probable drivers of channel form and particle size on the smallest headwater streams. The modern floodplain appears to have established itself in the early 1900s and it is still evolving.

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Leigh, David S. 2010. Morphology and channel evolution of small streams in the southern Blue Ridge mountains of western North Carolina. Southeastern Geographer 50(4):397-421.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.