, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 659-670
Date: 27 Feb 2006

The Relationship of Lithology and Watershed Characteristics to Fine Sediment Deposition in Streams of the Oregon Coast Range

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Abstract

Lithology is one of many factors influencing the amount, grain size distribution, and location of fine sediment deposition on the bed of mountain stream channels. In the Oregon Coast Range, 18 pool-riffle stream reaches with similar slope and intact riparian area and relatively unaffected by logjams were surveyed for assessment of fine sediment deposition. Half of the streams were in watersheds underlain by relatively erodible sandstone. The other half were underlain by a more resistant basalt. Channel morphology, hydraulic variables, particle size, relative pool volume of fine sediment (V*), and wood characteristics were measured in the streams. A significantly higher amount of fine sediment was deposited in the sandstone channels than in the basalt channels, as indicated by V*. Grab samples of sediment from pools also were significantly finer grained in the sandstone channels. Geographic information systems (GIS) software was used to derive several variables that might correlate with fine sediment deposition. These variables were combined with those derived from field data to create multiple linear regression models to be used for further exploration of the type and relative influence of factors affecting fine sediment deposition. Lithology appeared to be significant in some of these models, but usually was not the primary driver. The results from these models indicate that V* at the reach scale is best explained by stream power per unit area and by the volume of wood perpendicular to the flow per channel area (R 2 = 0.46). Findings show that V* is best explained using only watershed scale variables, including negative correlations with relief ratio and basin precipitation index, and positive correlations with maximum slope and circularity.