Urban riparian regolith characteristics in a southern Piedmont watershed

Authors: Dan Royall*, UNC-Greensboro
Topics: Geomorphology, Land Use, Coupled Human and Natural Systems
Keywords: stream, regolith, urban, North Carolina
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download


Anthropogenic soils and sediments have received increasing attention over the past few decades as awareness of their importance has grown. This attention is paralleled by coincident and ongoing attempts to better represent such bodies in the descriptive schemes of multiple soil taxonomic systems. Although anthropogenic soils in agricultural settings have received more attention, regoliths and soils of urban environments, often lumped in mapping units as simply urban land, may also contain substantial and environmentally significant human imprints that can vary over short distances. In the current study, the types and degrees of regolith disturbance by human activities in urban areas are viewed from the standpoint of an urban stream environment in the central North Carolina Piedmont. Stream bank exposures in different sizes of urban stream in the Buffalo Creek watershed (city of Greensboro), are described, and spatial patterns of urban impact sought. Despite urban influences, naturally emplaced fluvial sediments dominate urban stream banks at most sites in this area. Human manufactured materials (artifacts) occur along these streams, although concentrated layers meeting the definition of urbic materials are uncommon. Human Transported Material (HTM) from cut-and-fill and dredging are more commonly observed in banks, although still spatially fragmented, and may locally affect surface and subsurface water flows, plant root depths, and stream bank stability. HTM was found to be least common on 1st-order streams, and most common along those of 2nd-order, although sample number is small.

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