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Watershed to Local Scale Characteristics and Function of Intermittent and Ephemeral Streams on Military Lands

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Technical Report,28 Jan 2010,31 Jul 2015

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Colorado State University Fort Collins United States

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The objective of this project is to determine the characteristics of intermittent and ephemeral streams and develop a stream hydrogeomorphic classification incorporating key physical process drivers that create and support riverine and riparian landforms, hydrologic regimes, and biota. We hypothesized that differences in channel planform, lateral confinement, and boundary materials would produce distinctive physical environments and biotic patterns in ephemeral stream networks. We outlined five hydrogeomorphic stream types, based on the above criteria, that are widespread throughout arid regions of North America bedrock, bedrock with alluvium, incised alluvium, braided, and piedmont headwater streams. Our analyses of physical and biological patterns and processes were framed within this stream typology. Our hydrogeomorphic stream classification characterizes variation in fluvial form and function throughout stream networks, and can be used to facilitate management and restoration of ephemeral streams of the southwestern United States. Resource managers could use this conceptual framework to infer basic information on physical and ecological characteristics fluvial ecosystems, plan the types and locations of land use and human disturbance in order to minimize long-term environmental impacts, and improve the efficiency of resource inventories and mapping projects.

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