PROJECT TITLE: Sediment source tracking study using tracers
SPONSOR: Canaan Valley Institute & USDA-Agricultural Research Service
PROJECT DURATION: 1 June 2010 to 31 July 2012
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS: Kevin McGuire and Cully Hession (VT)
COLLABORATORS: Danny Welsch (CVI), Tony Buda (USDA), John Schmidt (USDA), Jim Anderson (WVU), Eugenia Pena-Yewtukhiw (WVU)
GRADUATE STUDENTS: Tyler Kreider, MS student
PROJECT SUMMARY: Stream restoration through the construction of in-stream structures, bank re-grading and vegetation planting, and fencing of riparian areas is occurring at an increasing rate throughout the mid-Atlantic highlands and Chesapeake Bay Watershed (CBW). For example, past programs in the CBW have spent millions of dollars in planting many miles of riparian forests along streams within the CBW alone. Despite these riparian plantings, reductions in sedimentation have been difficult to quantify. Stream restoration projects are expected to reduce sedimentation. However, tools to quantify sediment reduction especially to distinguish between bank and upland sediment loading are lacking. This study will determine the relative contribution of bank versus upland sediment sources as well as from specific bank restoration treatments to total stream sediment flux through the use of rare earth element (REE) and cesium-137 tracers. This work will inform the efficient utilization of restoration resources and help delineate sediment sources and quantify reduction from projects that are local in nature compared to the scale of downstream waterways such as the Chesapeake Bay.