Water Resources Professional Project Reports

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The suppression of wildfires has created the opportunities for catastrophic wildfires, which can increase suspended-sediment, stream temperature, stream flows, erosion and sedimentation in surrounding waterways. Burn Area Emergency Rehabilitation (BAER)has utilized a number of different treatments to minimize these effects following a wildfire. Induced meandering is a new concept that utilizes rock structures to promote the stabilization of incised degrading channels, by simulating river riffles, elevating channel bottoms, establishing channel slope, to encourage channel meander and the formation of an active floodplain. This project evaluates the effectiveness of rock baffles, one-rock dams, and aerial seeding in stabilizing an incised discontinuous gully channel post wildfire. The methods used to evaluate the effects of treatment include photo documentation, vegetation percent cover, cross-sectional measurements, streambed geology, and a riparian habitat assessment. Results of the photo documentation of the channel illustrate that meandering is clearly happening, while cross-sectional data suggests the channel has stabilized. Vegetation percent cover and streambed geology support these findings. Photo documentation and vegetation percent ground cover suggest that aerial seeding on the upland slopes was successful. The riparian habitat assessment confirms that gullies are not suitable riparian habitat. Continued monitoring, research and understanding of induced meandering and other rehabilitation treatments are needed to provide the best possible treatment of post wildfires.

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wildland fires, watershed rehabilitation, rock baffles, one-rock check dams, Valle Vidal, Hart Canyon, aerial seeding, induced meandering, fire suppression


A Professional Project Report Submitted in Partial Fulfillment ofthe Requirements For the Degree of Master of Water Resources, Hydroscience Option, Water Resources Program University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, December 2005.