Headwater streams have a significant nexus or physical, chemical, and/or biological connection to downstream reaches. Generally, defined as 1st-3rd order with ephemeral, intermittent, or perennial flow regimes, these streams account for a substantial portion of the total stream network particularly in mountainous terrain. Due to their often remote locations, small size, and large numbers, conducting field inventories of headwater streams is challenging. A means of estimating headwater stream location and extent according to flow regime type using publicly available spatial data is needed to simplify this complex process. Using field-collected headwater point of origin data from three control watersheds, streams were characterized according to a set of spatial parameters related to topography, geology, and soils. These parameters were (1) compared to field-collected point of origin data listed in three nearby Jurisdictional Determinations, (2) used to develop a geographic information system (GIS)-based stream network for identifying ephemeral, intermittent, and perennial streams, and (3) applied to a larger watershed and compared to values obtained using the high-resolution National Hydrography Dataset (NHD). The parameters drainage area and local valley slope were the most reliable predictors of flow regime type. Results showed the high-resolution NHD identified no ephemeral streams and 9 and 65% fewer intermittent and perennial streams, respectively, than the GIS model.
|Number of pages
|Journal of the American Water Resources Association
|Published - Dec 1 2015
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Water Resources Association.
- Geospatial analysis
- Surface water hydrology
- Watershed management
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Water Science and Technology
- Earth-Surface Processes