Streambank Alluvial Unit Contributions to Suspended Sediment and Total Phosphorus Loads, Walnut Creek, Iowa, USA

Schultz, Richard
Moore, Peter
Beck, William
Isenhart, Thomas
Moore, Peter
Isenhart, Thomas
Schilling, Keith
Schultz, Richard
Tomer, Mark
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Natural Resource Ecology and Management

Streambank erosion may represent a significant source of sediment and phosphorus (P) to overall watershed loads; however, watershed-scale quantification of contributions is rare. In addition, streambanks are often comprised of highly variable stratigraphic source materials (e.g., alluvial deposits), which may differentially impact in-channel P dynamics once eroded. The objective of this study was to quantify sediment and total phosphorus (TP) losses from four materials comprising streambanks within a 5218 ha watershed in Iowa, USA. Streambank-face surveys, erosion pins, and soil analyses were used to quantify surface area representation, recession, and losses of sediment and TP over a two-year period. Cumulative, whole-bank gross mean recession totaled 18.6 cm over two years, and material-specific gross mean recession ranged from 15.5 to 64.1 cm. Cumulative, whole-bank mean gross mass losses totaled 0.28 Mg sediment and 0.7 × 10−5 Mg TP per meter channel length. Annual sediment losses equated to 4–44% of historic suspended sediment loads. Stratigraphy was significant in gross material erosion and losses, with lower materials (i.e., bank toe region) exhibiting the greatest recession rates and cumulative recession. Weathered/colluvial material dominated total bank face surface area (88.3%), and contributed the greatest proportion of sediment and TP mass loss (66, 68%, respectively) versus other streambank materials.


This article is published as Beck, William, Thomas Isenhart, Peter Moore, Keith Schilling, Richard Schultz, and Mark Tomer. "Streambank alluvial unit contributions to suspended sediment and total phosphorus loads, Walnut Creek, Iowa, USA." Water 10, no. 2 (2018): 111. doi: 10.3390/w10020111.