Water Stewardship Information Sources

Citation Benda, L., Hassan, M. A., Church, M., and May, C. L., 2005. Geomorphology of headwaters: transition from hillslopes to channels. Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 41, 835-851.
Organization UBC
URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1752-1688.2005.tb03773.x/abstract
Abstract/Description or Keywords debris flow;debris flood;forest management;gullying;headwater streams;zero-order basin
Headwater streams comprise 60 to 80 percent of the cumulative length of river networks. In hilly to mountainous terrain, they reflect a mix of hillslope and channel processes because of their close proximity to sediment source areas. Their morphology is an assemblage of residual soils, landslide deposits, wood, boulders, thin patches of poorly sorted alluvium, and stretches of bedrock. Longitudinal profiles of these channels are strongly influenced by steps created by sediment deposits, large wood, and boulders. Due to the combination of small drainage area, stepped shallow gradient, large roughness elements, and cohesive sediments, headwater streams typically transport little sediment or coarse wood debris by fluvial processes. Consequently, headwaters act as sediment reservoirs for periods spanning decades to centuries. The accumulated sediment and wood may be episodically evacuated by debris flows, debris floods, or gully erosion and transported to larger channels. In mountain environments, these processes deliver significant amounts of materials that form riverine habitats in larger channels. In managed steepland forests, accelerated rates of landslides and debris flows resulting from the harvest of headwater forests have the potential to seriously impact the morphology of headwater streams and downstream resources.
Information Type article
Regional Watershed Coast Region
Sub-watershed if known
Aquifer #
Project status complete
Contact Name Marwan Hassan
Contact Email [email protected]