Evaluation of the Long-term Impacts of Urbanization on the Physical Characteristics of Piedmont Headwater Streams: Interim Results
Bourne, Robert L.
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As reported in the 1999 Conference Proceedings (Bourne and Mikalsen, 1999), a field study was initiated in 1996 to evaluate the response of a segment of Proctor Creek in Cobb County to the impact of rapid urbanization in the watershed over time and in comparison to a segment of a physically comparable but almost fully developed urban watershed. The objectives of the study are to measure and evaluate long-term changes in channel cross-sections, bank and channel scouring, streambed composition, longitudinal reach profiles, plan-form dimensions, biological habitats and communities, water chemistry, and land cover to determine the timing and response of the stream to urbanization within the watershed and compare them with corresponding measurements of the developed urban watershed. These interim results describe measured and observed changes in the Proctor Creek study reach. Since the onset of physical observations in 1996, when increased sedimentation was the only evident indication of increased upstream development in the study reach, there has been a decline in the diversity of the macroinvertebrate community, enlargement of channel cross-sections and extensive bank undercutting and cantilever failure in the lower portion of the reach, scouring and undercutting of an outside bank and downstream migration of a cobble deposit in the middle section, and scouring of root-armored banks in the upper portion of the reach, and extensive silt and sediment deposition over the entire reach.