Characterizing Physical Habitat of a Mixed-Land Use Stream of the Central U.S.
Friday, 19 December 2014
Land use altered flow regime impacts on aquatic biological habitat can be quantified by means of a physical habitat assessment (PHA). PHA metrics include (but are not limited to) channel substrate, width and wetted width, bank slope, and bank height. Hinkson Creek, located in Boone County, Missouri, was placed on the Missouri Department of Natural Resources list of impaired waters (Section 303d) of the Clean Water Act in 1998. A physical habitat assessment of Hinkson Creek in 2014 provides quantitative data characterizing the current potential of Hinkson Creek to fully support aquatic life, specifically macroinvertebrates (a goal for delisting). The PHA was conducted every 100m of Hinkson Creek (56km). Results from the lower 87.9% (contiguous) of the drainage indicate channel width ranged from a maximum of 70m to a minimum of 4.6m, with a mean width of 17m and standard deviation (SD) of 7.4m. Bankfull width ranged from a maximum of 74m to a minimum of 8.8m (mean = 26.1m, SD = 8.2). Bank height ranged from a maximum of 5.8m to a minimum of 0.4m (mean = 2.9m, SD = 1m). Mean bank angle for the left and right banks was nearly equivalent (left = 33.8°, right = 34.6°). Bank height and bankfull width increased with increasing drainage distance. Trench pools were the dominant channel unit at 71.4% of the sample transects, while riffles were present at 16.6%. Analysis of stream channel bed composition was conducted using a modified Wolman pebble count survey at each site and Thalweg profile between sites. Size class results were quantified as follows: 56.1% fines (16mm or less), 36.2% intermediate (16mm to 1000mm, plus vegetation and wood), 8.7% large/bedrock (greater than 1000mm, riprap and bedrock). Study results provide science-based information to better equip land planners in Hinkson Creek watershed and similar multi-use watersheds of the central United States for future management decisions and development scenarios.