Prioritizing River Restoration Zones Through Watershed Modelling in the Guadalupe River Basin, South-Central Texas

Authors: Tasnuva Udita*, Texas State University, Kimberly Meitzen, Texas State University
Topics: Applied Geography
Keywords: Barriers, Riparian, Restoration, Watershed Modelling, Texas
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 3
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Riparian vegetation works as a buffer between land and watershed. The watershed gets exposed to land-based pollutants once this buffer disappears. One of the major causes of riparian vegetation decline is expansion of urban areas or impervious surfaces (Groffman et al., 2003). And the findings from the pilot research on the Upper basin of Guadalupe River justifies this cause. Dams can act as a triggering factor in this process. They contribute to river fragmentation by re-distributing water and sediment thus affecting riparian vegetation connectivity. The combination of these two factors (urban areas and dams) can make a river vulnerable to degradation (e.g. bank destabilization, altering water quantity and flow, water quality reduction) that calls for restoration. Therefore, this project aims to identify and hierarchically categorize vulnerable riparian zones for restoration, of the Guadalupe River Basin in South-Central Texas over the time period 1990-2020. The proposed objectives are as follow: a) identify the decline in active riparian vegetation connectivity within the study area, b) identify the role of urbanization in the connectivity decline, c) identify the role of dams as triggering effects in riparian vegetation connectivity decline, d) model the watershed’s active riparian areas by creating zones, categorizing them on the basis of their vulnerability to degradation and priority of restoration.

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