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Regional hydraulic geometry characteristics of stream channels in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas

June 10, 2019

Many stream channel infrastructure, habitat, and restoration projects are being undertaken on small streams throughout Arkansas by various Federal, State, and local agencies and by private organizations and businesses with limited data on local geomorphology and streamflow relations. Equations are needed that relate drainage area above stable stream reaches and the associated basin characteristics to bankfull streamflow and the associated channel dimensions. These equations, along with streambed material particle information, provide information that can improve stream channel projects. The U.S. Geological Survey and the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District, undertook a study to develop these equations for streams in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas.

Seventeen streamgages operated by the U.S. Geological Survey, located on streams in the Ouachita Mountains, were selected for analysis. Regional hydraulic geometry curves that express the mathematical relation between the bankfull channel dimensions (cross-sectional area, top width, mean depth, and streamflow) and the contributing drainage areas were developed. Streambed material measurements were collected to develop descriptive statistics of the streambed particle-size distributions and percentages of substrate type at each study site. Stream reaches at each study site were classified to the Rosgen level II stream type based on the average of stream channel metrics collected from site cross sections and profiles. Of the 17 selected Ouachita Mountain stream reaches, 6 were classified as B stream types, and 11 were classified as C stream types. The B stream types have infrequently spaced pools; very stable plan forms, profiles, and banks; and narrow, gently sloping valleys, where bank vegetation is a moderate component of stability. The C stream types are meandering, point bar, riffle-pool channels associated with broad valleys having well-defined flood plains and terraces composed of alluvial soils, where bank vegetation is typically a high component of stability.

Publication Year 2019
Title Regional hydraulic geometry characteristics of stream channels in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas
DOI 10.3133/ds1104
Authors Aaron L. Pugh, Ronald K. Redman
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Data Series
Series Number 1104
Index ID ds1104
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center