Hydrologic and Geomorphic Controls on Particulate Concentrations in Ichawaynochaway Creek, a Blackwater Coastal Plain Stream
Golladay, Stephen W.
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Examining controls on particulate concentrations in streams is an important step in understanding stream structure and function. In Coastal Plain streams, organic particles derived from floodplain soils are an important food source for aquatic life; inorganic particle concentrations can ·be indicators of watershed disturbance. Since 1993, we have been examining organic and inorganic particle concentrations in Ichawaynochaway Creek, a 5th order blackwater tributary of the lower Flint River. Monthly samples have been collected during stable flow periods at 7 stations ranging from near the headwaters to the confluence with the Flint River. Our study indicates that geomorphology and hydrology interact to control particle concentrations. Concentrations of all particles were greatest during floods. Areas with well-developed floodplains appear to be source areas for organic particles. In the development of regional conservation programs, floodplain swamp forests may merit special consideration to protect the trophic base of stream communities. In addition, management actions or water allocation formulae that systematically reduce the annual period of floodplain inundation may reduce organic particle transport from floodplains. Reductions in organic concentrations would lower food availability to support aquatic life.