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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Modeling the Impact of Riparian Buffer Systems on Bank Stability of An Incised Stream

Authors
item Langendoen, Eddy
item Lowrance, Robert
item Williams, Randall
item Bankhead, Natasha
item Simon, Andrew

Submitted to: Environmental and Water Resources Institute World Congress Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 15, 2005
Publication Date: May 15, 2005
Citation: Langendoen, E.J., Lowrance, R.R., Williams, R.G., Pollen, N.L., Simon, A. 2005. Modeling the impact of riparian buffer systems on bank stability of an incised stream. Environmental and Water Resources Institute World Congress Proceedings. Available: http://ascelibrary.org/2005conferences/ASCECP000173040792.

Interpretive Summary: Pollutants such as nutrients and sediments, washed off agricultural fields or eroded from stream channels, may diminish the water quality of streams and rivers. The stream and the area between stream and agricultural field, the riparian zone, play an important role in the management of pollutants. The vegetation in the riparian zone is also known to reduce erosion from the streambank. The U. S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service is developing technology to study the effects of riparian forests and in-stream restoration measures on water quality. The independently developed computer models CONCEPTS (Conservational Channel Evolution and Pollutant Transport System) and REMM (Riparian Ecosystem Management Model) have been integrated. The combined model has been used to study the effects of two riparian zones, consisting of trees and grass, on controlling streambank erosion of a severely eroded stream in North-Central Mississippi. Results show that the larger tree roots greatly reduce erosion, whereas the smaller grass roots do not add sufficient resistance. The combination of CONCEPTS and REMM is therefore a tool that can be used by state and federal agencies to assess vegetative, riparian conservation measures.

Technical Abstract: A national project is underway within the U.S. Department of Agriculture to estimate the beneficial effect of conservation practices on environmental resources. The use of computer models is a major component of the project. Edge-of-field buffers are a core agricultural conservation practice, and installed along the stream are a proven technology to reduce sediment loadings from both hill slope and channel bank. This paper presents the initial effort to integrate the computer models CONCEPTS and REMM, which were developed to simulate stream channel morphology and riparian ecosystem function. The integrated model has been used to study the effectiveness of hypothetical woody and herbaceous riparian buffers in controlling streambank stability of an incised stream in Mississippi. Results show that the anchoring force provided by coarse roots of the woody vegetation greatly enhances streambank stability and therefore reduces streambank erosion. The roots of the herbaceous species have a negligible effect on the stability of the bank of the incised stream.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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