Currently, 10 major watersheds in Minnesota's North Shore exceed state water quality standards for turbidity (10 NTU) a surrogate for total suspended solids. In this region, recent anthropogenic disturbances can be attributed to roadway construction and maintenance. The presence of roadways can pose a serious threat to ecosystem functions, altering local and landscape hydrology, fragmenting riparian areas, and delivering chemical pollutants and suspended sediments to nearby waterways via surface runoff and seepage.
This study examined the current extent of hydrologic connectivity between roads and streams, by investigating roadside erosion for select sub-watersheds within the North Shore watershed of Minnesota, USA. Surveys were conducted at 54 road-stream crossings along 12.2 km of roadways in the summer of 2010. A Road-stream connectivity analysis found roads increase the drainage density of North Shore watersheds by approx. 1.45-9.47%. Measureable erosion was observed at 64.8% of survey sites (gully, or rill) totaling 93.26 m3, with an average loss per site of 1.73 m3, or 7.64 m3/km. Traffic intensity, road construction, parent material, stream order, soil k factor, hillslope gradient best predicted erosion for this dataset using logistic regression at local and watershed wide scales.
The effect road-stream crossings as a localized stress on stream stability was also examined at seven sites, using Rosgen level I classification and Pfankuch stability metrics. This qualitative analysis of stream stability upstream and downstream of road-stream crossing structures indicated study road-stream crossings are causing localized instability. Assessments indicated stream segments are negatively impacted both upstream and downstream of crossing structures.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. July 2012. Major: Natural Resources Science and Management. Advisors: Kenneth N Brooks, Joseph Magner. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 124 pages, appendices A-E.
Dutton, Patricia Danielle.
Factors influencing roadside erosion and in-stream geomorphic stability at road-stream crossings for selected watersheds, North Shore, Minnesota, USA..
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