Submitted to: Annual Water Resources Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 20, 2002
Publication Date: November 3, 2002
Citation: Shields, F.D., Jr., Cooper, C.M., Knight, S.S., Dabney, S.M. Little Topashaw Creek resetoration project: Context and overview. American Water Resources Association 2002 Annual Water Resources Conference Proceedings. 2002. Abstract p. 236. Technical Abstract: Channel incision in the absence of geological controls results in increases in channel width and depth by several fold. Environmental impacts include export of large volumes of sediment, destruction of riparian buffers by erosion, and physical aquatic habitat degradation. Herein we describe a project that is demonstrating the use of woody debris and plant materials to promote the recovery of an incised stream corridor ecosystem. Studies focus on a 2 km reach of Little Topashaw Creek, a fourth-order sand bed stream in the Yalobusha River watershed in north central Mississippi. Channels upstream and downstream from the study reach were straightened ca. 1913 and downstream reaches were again channelized in 1967. Systemic response of the 800-km2 watershed encompassing our site included incision of ~2 m in headwaters, aggradation of ~5 m downstream, and knickpoint migration rates of 0.6 to 16 m/ yr. Baseline studies described reach hydrology, water quality, resident flora and fauna, and dominant geomorphic processes. Using this information, experiments were conducted to assess the utility of large woody debris and planted willow cuttings, switchgrass plantings, bank dewatering for erosion control and habitat rehabilitation. Findings of these experiments are described in other papers before this conference.