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Geomorphic and Vegetative Recovery Processes Along Modified Stream Channels of West Tennessee

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Hundreds of miles of streams in West Tennessee have been channelized or otherwise modified since the turn of century. After all or parts of a stream are straightened, dredged, or cleared, systematic hydrologic, geomorphic, and ecologic processes collectively begin to reduce energy conditions towards the premodified state. One hundred and five sites along 15 streams were studied in the Obion, Forked Deer, Hatchie, and Wolf River basins. All studied streams, except the Hatchie River, have had major channel modification along all or parts of their courses. Bank material shear-strength properties were determined through drained borehole-shear testing 168 tests and used to interpret present critical bank conditions and factors of safety, and to estimate future channel-bank stability. Mean values of cohesive strength and angle of internal friction were 1.26 pounds per square inch and 30.1 degrees, respectively. Dendrogeomorphic analyses were made using botanical evidence of channel-bank failures to determine rates of channel widening buried riparian stems were analyzed to determine rates of bank accretion. Channel bed-level changes through time and space were represented by a power equation. Plant ecological analyses were made to infer relative bank stability, to identify indicator species of the stage of bank recovery, and to determine patterns of vegetation development through the course of channel evolution. Quantitative data on morphologic changes were used with previously developed six-stage models of channel evolution and bank-slope development to estimate trends of geomorphic and ecologic processes and forms through time.

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  • Hydrology, Limnology and Potamology

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