River: An Exploration in Equilibrium
The Sand River, located in Aiken, SC, is an urban fed stream that lies within a natural preserve and drains into a wetland. As the city, which serves as its watershed, has developed over the past sixty years, the flow regime of Sand River has been severely altered as the result of non-permeable surfaces eliminating baseflow and storm water runoff drains decreasing the storage of precipitation. Once a perennial, braided stream, Sand River has now transformed into an ephemeral, meandering stream. As a result of upstream erosion (the loss of large tracts of valuable land) and downstream deposition (the suffocation of wetlands), it has come into question whether or not this stream is in equilibrium. For a stream to be in a state of equilibrium, there must be a balance between force and resistance within the channel. I am examining this interaction in order to answer my research question, Is Sand River in a state of equilibrium?
Due to the effects of urbanization, ephemeral rivers are becoming more common in moderate climatic regions. This research will provide insight into the fluvial processes of this growing phenomenon. It will also help to establish the proper stream restoration procedures that need to be taken for this river. In addition, the study will help to determine measures that can be taken in similar streams to prevent loss of land, flooding, and destruction of wetlands.
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