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Leveraging community scientists and GIScience to model roadside stream sedimentation in the US National Forest, North Carolina

Authors: Jacob Hansen*, East Tennessee State University, Ingrid Luffman, East Tennessee State University, Andrew Brown, Trout Unlimited
Topics: Earth Science, Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: community science, citizen science, sedimentation, coldwater, streams, Survey123, GIS, modeling
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Unpaved forest roads are adversely affecting coldwater streams through excessive erosion and the subsequent sedimentation of adjacent waterways. The key to developing good management practices is in having good data; to help identify areas of concern, Trout Unlimited (TU) developed a Community Science initiative to gather data on sediment sources and stream-road crossings. In cooperation with the United States Forest Service and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Survey123 forms were created and used by volunteers to provide baseline data on road condition in the Wilson Creek watershed and “Sky Island” (near Brevard, NC, comprised of the headwaters of several watersheds). Volunteers recruited from within and outside TU’s membership were trained in data collection and work in teams to monitor conditions and provide GPS-collected data of road drainage points using the Survey123 app on their cell phones. The contributed data were included as a calibration for the lite version of the Geomorphic Road Analysis and Inventory Package (GRAIP), a GIS-based road sediment contribution model. Results from this model were compared to results from the uncalibrated GRAIP_Lite model, which uses only elevation data and a road network shapefile and makes several assumptions for the missing pieces of data. The analysis provides TU with valuable information about its focal areas and examines the effectiveness and challenges of integrating Community Scientist gathered data into previously developed modeling systems.

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