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Riffle stability in two Ozark streams in southern Missouri

Authors: Scott Lecce*, East Carolina University, Robert Pavlowsky, Missouri State University, Joe Nash, Missouri State University
Topics: Geomorphology
Keywords: Fluvial processes, riffle stability, Fort Leonard Wood, Ozarks
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


A substantial decline in threatened and endangered freshwater mussel species has occurred since 2004 in two streams flowing through Fort Leonard Wood Army base in Missouri. As part of a project to assess the factors that may have contributed to the mussel decline, we are investigating the geomorphic and hydrologic characteristics of the Big Piney River and Roubidoux Creek to evaluate their impact on mussel habitats. The purpose of this poster is to provide a preliminary evaluation of riffle stability using the Riffle Stability Index (RSI) to evaluate bedload response to increases in sediment supply. When sediment supply from upstream exceeds the stream's ability to transport it, pools fill and riffles experience a textural shift caused by an increase in the finer mobile component of the bedload. The RSI is an index of sediment input from upstream that compares the particle size percentile of the riffle that is mobile relative to that of lateral bars, which are a good indicator of the caliper of bedload that is transported during high flows. We evaluated the RSI at 18 sites using randomly sampled particle size measurements on riffles and lateral bars. Preliminary results suggest that riffles in Roubidoux Creek are more mobile than those in the Big Piney River.

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