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    Author(s): B. Lane Rivenbark; C. Rhett Jackson
    Date: 2004
    Source: Journal Of The American Water Resources Association, June, 639-646
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    PDF: Download Publication  (690 KB)


    Regional average evapotranspiration estimates developed by water balance techniques are frequently used to estimate average discharge in ungaged strttams. However, the lower stream size range for the validity of these techniques has not been explored. Flow records were collected and evaluated for 16 small streams in the Southern Appalachians to test whether the relationship between average discharge and drainage area in streams draining less than 200 acres was consistent with that of larger basins in the size range 6 10 square miles) typically gaged by the U.S. Geological Survey C[JSGS). This study was designed to evaluate predihrs of average discharge in small ungaged streams for regulatory purposes, since many stream regulations, as well as recommendations for best management practices, are based on measures of stream size, including average discharge. The average discharge/drainage area relationship determined from gages on large streams held true down to the perennial flow initiation point. For the southern Appalachians, basin size corresponding to perennial flow is approximately 19 acres, ranging fmm 11 to 32 acres. There was a strong linear relationship (R2 = 0.85) between average discharge and rainage area for all streams draining between 16 and 200 acres, and the average discharge for these streams was consistent with that predicted by the USGS Unit Area Runoff Map for Georgia. Drainage area was deemed an accurate predictor of average discharge, even in very small streams. Channel morphological features, such as active channel width, cross-sectional area, and bankfull flow predicted from Manning's equation, were not accurate predictors of average discharge. Monthly baseflow statistics also were poor predictors of average discharge.

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    Rivenbark, B. Lane; Jackson, C. Rhett. 2004. Average discharge, perennial flow initiation, and channel initiation - small southern Appalachian basins. Journal Of The American Water Resources Association, June, 639-646


    headwater streams, average discharge, channel morphology, baseflow separation, perennial flow, channel initiation.

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