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Determining Function-Based Assessments for Streams in Mississippi
Proceedings of the 2020 Mississippi Water Resources Conference

Year: 2020 Authors: Ramirez-Avila J.J., Ortega-Achury S., Chavarro-Chaux L.

The physical, chemical, and biological processes that create and support a stream system are known as stream function. Understanding how stream functions work together and which restoration techniques influence a given function is a necessary step to successfully restore stream corridors. A study was completed to determine the function-based watershed and reach level assessments, restoration potential, project goals and objectives, and preliminary designs for reaches along tributary streams of the Catalpa Creek in Mississippi. Rating of pre-restoration conditions for hydrology and hydraulics stream characteristics indicate all the streams are functioning at risk due to their flashy response, presence of point flow discharges and limited floodplain connectivity due to their degree of incision. The geomorphology level was rated as functioning at risk and not-functioning due to the limited presence of riparian vegetation and streambed material, and the presence of active streambanks along different segments of the study reaches. Assessment of water quality and macroinvertebrates evidenced that physicochemical and biological processes are functioning at risk due to the effect of seasonal variations in temperature, dissolved oxygen and nutrients contents of the stream water, the significant presence and predominance of macroinvertebrate communities tolerant to impaired water quality conditions, and the limited presence of favorable habitats for good water quality bioindicators. Watershed and reach assessments indicated the restoration potential for all the study reaches should focus on the uplift of hydrology, hydraulic and geomorphology processes. Following the natural channel design guidelines, all the study reaches, currently in a widening and degradation stage on the channel evolution sequence and categorized as Rosgen G stream type, could be restored to become stable Rosgen class C streams.

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