Skip to Main Content
An assessment methodology for determining historical changes in mountain streamsAuthor(s): Mark G. Smelser; John C. Schmidt
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-6. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 29 p.
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
View PDF (646 KB)
DescriptionSuccessful management of water in mountain streams by the USDA Forest Service requires that the link between resource development and channel change be documented and quantified. The characteristics of that linkage are unclear in mountain streams, and the adjustability of these streams to land-use and hydrologic change has been argued in court. One way to quantify the adjustability of a stream is to examine its geomorphic history. An excellent source of historic geomorphic data are the records associated with stream gaging stations maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey. This report describes what records are available, how to organize the data on computer spreadsheets, and discusses 6 techniques that quantify the spatial and temporal magnitude of historic channel adjustments. The discharge measurements include physical measurements of the channel. In particular, USGS discharge measurements include physical measurements of the channel. By analyzing these measurements collectively, it is possible to quantify monthly, annual, and decadal scales of adjustment. Once the history of channel adjustment is determined, it can be compared to histories of climate change, flow regulation, and land use. These comparisons may link the geomorphic adjustments to particular patterns, events, or activities. Resource managers can use this knowledge to better assess the ramifications of resource development, land use, and restoration efforts on mountain stream systems.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
CitationSmelser, Mark G.; Schmidt, John C. 1998. An assessment methodology for determining historical changes in mountain streams. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-6. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 29 p.
Keywordsgaging stations, mountain streams, historic stream channel adjustments
- Stream channel reference sites: An illustrated guide to field technique
- Riparian indicators of flow frequency in a tropical montante stream network
- WinXSPRO, a channel cross section analyzer, User's Manual, Version 3.0
XML: View XML