Skip to Main Content
Hydrologic processes of forested headwater watersheds across a physiographaic gradient in the southeastern United StatesAuthor(s): Ge Sun; Johnny Boggs; Steven G. McNulty; Devendra M. Amatya; Carl C. Trettin; Zhaohua Dai; James M. Vose; Ileana B. La Torre Torres; Timothy Callahan
Source: In: Proceedings of the 2008 South Carolina Water Resources Conference, October 14-15, 2008, Charleston, South Carolina.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
PDF: View PDF (216.0 KB)
DescriptionUnderstanding the hydrologic processes is the first step in making sound watershed management decisions including designing Best Management Practices for nonpoint source pollution control. Over the past fifty years, various forest experimental watersheds have been instrumented across the Carolinas through collaborative studies among federal, state, and private organizations. One of the most notable theoretical hydrological advances that directly resulted from studies in this region perhaps was Variable Source Area Concept (VSAC) proposed by John Hewlett and others. VSAC offers a framework that explains the mechanisms of streamflow generation at the watershed scale and provides a basis for developing watershed management practices for minimizing negative impacts on stream water quality. Unfortunately, due to the dynamic nature of the variable source area, a zone that varies across space and time, it is rarely measured and quantified at the watershed scale. This paper presents findings from a stormflow monitoring study that spans a physiographic gradient from the mountain to the sea. This study suggests that the variable source area and stormflow flow characteristics were most influenced by antecedent soil moisture conditions, which reflect the controls of climate and topography. We found that the saturated area was rather small in the Appalachians and piedmont upland watersheds, but it could be rather large and variable in the lower coastal plain watersheds. Implications of these contrasting differences in VSA to watershed management are discussed.
- You may send email to email@example.com to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- 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.
CitationSun, Ge; Boggs, Johnny; McNulty, Steven G.; Amatya, Devendra M.; Trettin, Carl C.; Dai, Zhaohua; Vose, James M.; La Torre Torres, Ileana B.; Callahan, Timothy. 2008. Hydrologic processes of forested headwater watersheds across a physiographaic gradient in the southeastern United States. In: Proceedings of the 2008 South Carolina Water Resources Conference, October 14-15, 2008, Charleston, South Carolina.
Keywordsforest hydrology, variable source areas, streamflow, stormflow, water table
- Interpreting historical streamflow data from a third-order Coastal Plain watershed: runoff response to storm events.
- Hydrology and water budget for a forested atlantic coastal plain watershed, South Carolina
- Hyrdology and water budget for a forested atlantic coastal plain watershed, South Carolina
XML: View XML