Variations in sediment sources and yields in the Finger Lakes and Catskills regions of New York
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Nagle, Gregory N.; Fahey, Timothy J.; Ritchie, Jerry C.; Woodbury, Peter B.
The proportional contributions of stream bank and surface sources to fine sediment loads in watersheds in New York State were quantified with uncertainty analysis. Eroding streamside glacial drift, including glaciolacustrine deposits, were examined to help explain variations in the proportional contributions made by bank erosion. Sediment sources were quantified by comparing concentrations of the bomb-derived radionuclide 137Cs in fluvial sediment with sediment from potential source areas such as agricultural soils, forest soils and stream banks. To compare sediment sources in streams containing abundant deposits of fine-grained glacial drift with watersheds that lacked moderate or extensive streamside deposits, samples were taken from 15 watersheds in the region. The mean contribution of bank erosion to sediment loads in the six streams with glaciolacustrine deposits was 60% (range 46?76%). The proportional contribution of bank erosion was also important in one stream lacking glaciolacustrine deposits (57%) but was less important in the remainder, with contributions ranging from 0 to 46%. Data from this study on the varying contributions of bank erosion and data from past studies of sediment yield in 15 watersheds of New York State suggest that eroding streamside glacial deposits dominate sediment yield in many watersheds. In other watersheds, past impacts to streams, such as channelization, have also resulted in high levels of bank erosion.
John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
bank erosion; sediment sources; tracers; New York State; 137Cs
Previously Published As
Nagle,G.N., T.J. Fahey, J.C. Ritchie, and P.B. Woodbury. 2007. Variations in sediment sources and yields in the Finger Lakes and Catskills regions of New York. Hydrological Processes 21(6): 828-838.