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WWRC 97-05ff
The Effects of Three Residual-Vegetation Heights on Streambank Sediment Deposition and Vegetation Production


This is a continuation of a study initiated by Rumsey in 1994. The study is designed to test the validity of the 15.2 cm residual vegetation height standard currently used by land managers. The study is being conducted along Spring Creek, in the city of Laramie, Wyoming. The objectives are to measure and compare above-ground vegetative production, below-ground biomass, stem density, and sediment deposition on stream banks when residual vegetation is maintained at 2.5, 7.6, 15.2 cm, and unclipped vegetation heights, and to measure suspended sediment during high flow events. Sample plots located with a 1m2 grid were maintained at the designated treatment levels. Each treatment level (2.5, 7.6 and 15.2 cm and unclipped control) was replicated four times per reach on five reaches. Vegetation from the plots was collected, dried and weighed. Buffer zones 3 m upstream and downstream were maintained at the designated treatment levels to ensure consistent flow across sample plots. Sediment deposition was measured immediately following a high flow event using nine uniformly spaced 2.5 cm2 stakes set flush with the ground. Stem density counts were taken inside and outside of the sample plots and will be used to compare Spring Creek with other streams in the area and to see how density affects sediment deposition. Base flow measurements and suspended sediment load were determined. Preliminary results suggest significant differences in vegetation production between the 2.5 cm and the unclipped with the other treatments. The 2.5 cm showed more cumulative production than the other clipped treatments, but not more than the unclipped. No significant differences were found between the 7.6 and 15.2 cm treatments. No significant differences were found for sediment deposition between treatment levels. Stem density inside the plots was not significantly different from outside the plots. The relationship between stem density and the amount of sediment deposited was minimal.

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