Rates and Processes of Streambank Erosion along the Principal Channel of the Town Creek Watershed: Implications in a Sediment Budget Development

Author(s): Ramirez-Avila, J.; Langendoen, E.; McAnally, W.; Ortega-Achury, S.; Martin, J.

A combination of in situ monitoring and characterizing methods were performed on different locations along the principal channel of the Town Creek in Northeastern Mississippi to quantify the contributions of streambanks to stream sediment loads and better understand the processes of streambank erosion. Results and field observations demonstrate that streambank instability is widespread and the highly erodibility of the streambank materials made streambanks important potential sources of sediment along the entire watershed. Streambanks predominantly lost materials through gravitational failures and removal of sediments by hydraulic forces along the watershed headwaters, commonly represented as incised channels near agricultural areas. Headwaters would represent up to 70% of the total sediment load exported from the entire watershed. Changes in channel morphology, vegetation and streamflow patterns favored the significant amount of sediment deposition amounts observed along the middle area of the watershed. Reduction of suspended sediment loads should focus on the attenuation of geomorphic processes and stabilization of reaches and agricultural lands near streambanks at the headwaters within the Town Creek watershed. Observed results and modeling process offer important insights into the relative effects of land and streambank erosion on the sediment budget for Town Creek watershed, on stream water quality and how management measures can effect improvements.

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