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Contributions of Road Surface Sediment to a Western Washington Stream

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This study examined the input of sediment from a gravel-surfaced road to a small western Washington stream to determine to what extent this material deposited on the streambed or intruded into the gravels used by salmonids for spawning. Sediment deposition occurred only during periods of low flow and was flushed from the system with even modest increases in stream discharge. There was no significant difference in the level of fine sediment (<2 mm) in gravels above and below the input point. The predominant reason for the lack of deposition or intrusion of this material was the small size of the road sediment, 80 percent, by weight, being finer than 0.004 mm. Less than 10 percent of the fine sediment in the streambed was finer than 0.063 mm. The size of the material delivered to the stream was likely limited by the gentle gradient of and vegetation in the roadside ditches. Forest Sci. 31:827-838.

Keywords: Sediment intrusion; sediment transport; spawning gravel

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Aquatic Ecologist, Western Forestry Research Center, Weyerhaeuser Company, Centralia, WA 98531

Publication date: December 1, 1985

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