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Big Darby Headwaters: An Assessment and Discussion of Channel Morphology November 2003

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  701P0904,  . (doi: 10.13031/2013.17422)
Authors:   Dawn Farver and Dan Mecklenburg

The main interaction between the terrestrial and aquatic systems occurs in the headwaters, the place where all great rivers begin. A stream is also tied to the land around it. Stream-floodplain interaction is potentially the most important morphological process to the long term integrity and stability of a stream. A stream system with good geomorphology and floodplain access is more likely to be tolerant and adapt to a range of watershed stressors. The Big Darby River located in Central Ohio is a high quality scenic river. This study focused on characterizing the headwaters of the Big Darby to determine what the condition of these streams was and if/how they contributed to the quality of the Big Darby River itself. Headwater streams were characterized in two different landscape areas. The northeast section of the watershed where the headwaters are located has fairly flat topography and therefore, the streams are fairly low gradient and low energy. The southwest section of the headwaters is characterized by more hilly terrain and therefore the streams are generally higher gradient, higher energy streams. The channel assessment started with field recognizance with the aid of USGS quadrangle topography maps. Once channels of interest were identified, wade-able headwater streams, cross-sections were measured to characterize levels of entrenchment, recovery and floodplain. Cross-sections were measured in the field and results were plotted in a spreadsheet.

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