University of New Hampshire
Environmental Sciences: Ecosystem, Natural Resource & Environment
Mentor: Dr. Wilfred Wollheim, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment
Effect of Land Use on Sediment Transport in Streams Draining Coastal Watersheds
This research is conducted to understand sediment dynamics in streams of varying land use around Durham New Hampshire (NH). Sediment deposition in the coastal environment can modify forest production as well as biological habitats, affecting food webs and fish populations (Gamvroudis et al. 2014). The response of sediment transport to land use change in shallow sloped coastal watersheds, across different flow levels is not entirely understood. The study will focus on the impacts of land use, flow levels, and stream slope on sediment concentration and transport in streams. This study is part of a larger study conducted by the Plum Island Ecosystem Long Term Ecological Research program, funded by the National Science Foundation (Wollheim et al. 2005). The research will focus on measurement of suspended sediments draining streams (channel of sediments) of different land use across different flow levels in the Oyster River watershed. The study will compare sediment concentrations and fluxes in one forested headwater stream, one urban headwater stream, and one agricultural stream. These will be compared to the concentrations and fluxes at the mouth of the Oyster River where it enters into the Great Bay in order to quantify retention by the river network. At each site, we will target sampling of sediments across a range of flows to estimate the concentration vs. discharge relationships. Existing water level loggers already deployed will be used to estimate discharge at each site. Findings will inform how land use change alters stream loading to the river network, and how effective the river network is at retaining incoming sediments across different flow conditions.