Sediment filtration in a montane riparian zone under simulated rainfall
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CitationPearce, R. A., Frasier, G. W., Trlica, M. J., Leininger, W. C., Stednick, J. D., & Smith, J. L. (1998). Sediment filtration in a montane riparian zone under simulated rainfall. Journal of Range Management, 51(3), 309-314.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractA 2 year study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of riparian vegetation to filter sediment from overland water flow. Three vegetation height treatments: clipped to the soil surface, clipped to a 10 cm height, and undisturbed were evaluated in 2 montane riparian vegetation communities (grass and sedge) in northern Colorado. Water was sprayed on 2 macro-plots (3 m X 10 m) and 2 micro-plots (0.6 m X 2 m) simultaneously at a rate of 60 mm hr-1 with a rotating boom rainfall simulator. Overland flow containing sediment was introduced at the upper end of the plots at a rate of 25 mm hr-1 to simulate runoff and sediment transport from an upland area. Two sediment sources were used, a sandy loam soil and a ground silica sediment (loam). Thirty kg of sediment were added to each macro-plot and 1.2 kg of sediment were introduced to each micro-plot (10 Mg ha-1). Sediment yields, at the downslope end of the plot, were greater when the finer silica sediment was introduced into overland flow as compared with sediment derived from the sandy loam soil. As expected the small micro-plots yielded more sediment and were often more sensitive to community and treatment differences than larger plots. We believe this resulted from the shorter travel distance. However, sediment filtration treatment effects were usually similar for both plot sizes. Sediment yields, measured at the outlet of the plots, did not decrease, or increase, as vegetation heights increased. Accurate prediction of sediment filtration from shallow flow in riparian zones required consideration of a combination of vegetation and soil surface characteristics.