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The City of Greensboro, North Carolina conducted an inventory of streams within the jurisdiction of the City that occur within water supply watersheds. A GIS-based map was produced that shows the origins of intermittent and perennial streams, the locations of streams, and the connections of the stream network to the stormwater system. This project was precipitated by: (1) the need for identification of perennial streams for riparian buffer protection in accordance with the North Carolina Water Supply Watershed protection regulations (15A NCAC 02B: .0100–.0300); (2) the requirements for identification of both intermittent and perennial streams for riparian buffer protection in the Randleman Lake Watershed; and (3) anticipation of riparian buffer rules being required on all intermittent and perennial streams in the Cape Fear River Basin in the future. Because of the limitations in topographic maps and the uncertainties in regulatory implementation that result, the City elected to conduct a field study to determine and map the intermittent and perennial streams.

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Division of Water Quality (DWQ) protocol for identification of intermittent stream origins was tested and approved for use in mapping intermittent streams. However, there was no standard procedure for the determination of perennial stream origins for regulatory purposes. A protocol was developed and applied in the course of this project. The concept of a perennial stream utilized in the stream origin protocol is one with more fully developed geomorphologic and hydrologic features than in an intermittent stream coupled with the presence of macroinvertebrates that commonly require perennial flow. Also documented in this study were: (1) the impacts of urban and suburban stormflow on the characteristics of the stream network in the City of Greensboro, (2) lessons learned on the conduct of an intensive stream inventory, and (3) recommendations on scientific and regulatory applications of stream inventory and mapping.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2002

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