Stillwater develops a rapid method to predict sediment yields by integrating geologic, topographic, and land-cover data

Data integration over large spatial scales is an effective way to help identify management priorities. Stillwater has developed a methodology to integrate geologic, topographic, and land-cover data in GIS to predict sediment yield, now being applied across watersheds of southern and central California. Dr. Derek Booth, Senior Geologist, led this study in the Sespe Creek watershed (Ventura County) and recently had it published in the international scientific journal Environmental Management, with co-authors and Senior Geomorphologists Glen Leverich and Dr. Pete Downs, together with former Stillwater staff Scott Dusterhoff and Sebastian Araya. Similar applications have also been conducted in watersheds in the greater San Francisco Bay region, where high sediment loads have raised significant management concerns.

The method is particularly useful for identifying the locations where the production and delivery of sediment in a watershed is highest, especially in regions where wildfires and rapid urban development can impose rapid changes. It’s particularly useful for directing effective land-management actions in watersheds where fish habitat may be limited by coarse sediment, where excessive fine sediment creates water-quality concerns, or in regions where sediment deposition may affect channel capacity and flood safety.

Full citation: Booth D., Leverich G., Downs, P., Dusterhoff, S., and S.Araya. 2014. A method for spatially explicit representation of sub-watershed sediment yield, southern California, USA. Journal of Environmental Management.

Posted on 05 March 2014.