Stream Erosion: Developing a Stream Habitat Rating Scale
Is there more erosion on the inside or outside bend in a stream?
I chose this project because I had prior knowledge to what the outcome would be.
My project deals with the concept of erosion and my question is, is there more erosion on the inner or outer bend in a stream? Based on the background information that I gathered I hypothesized that there would be more erosion on the outside bend in the stream. I got my idea for this science fair project after I did a lab on the water quality of Gravel Run (the stream that I measured) and wanted to know more about the health of Gravel Run. Since it was so close to the school and in a convenient location, I decided that it was the ideal place to do my project.
To do this project I went to the stream and on the inside, outside and straight bends in the stream I measured the undercut, if there was one; I gave the vegetation a rating based on the percent of growth on the banks; erosion evidence; and root exposure. Then I gave the bend or straight away a rating from 1-10 based on the data I collected. I next organized it into tables and charts.
From the data that I gathered I found that there was a very great difference between the average rating of the inside and outside bends. The average of the outside bend was a two and the average of the inside was a six. The straightaway banks had a rating closer the inside average then the outside with the rating of five. This meant that there is more erosion on the outside bend and my hypothesis was correct. This project was significant because I have learned about water quality and the health of Gravel Run and can now use this information in the future.
First of all I would like to thank Mr. George Radcliffe for the extra time that he has given to me to improve my project and for all the advice that was needed. Secondly I would like to thank my parents. My Mom for enduring the pouring rain whilst helping me collect data and my Dad helped me with the computer technology that I have used.
Due to all the background information that I gathered about stream erosion, curves and currents I hypothesis that there will be more erosion on the outside curves and when the current is strong.
- The scale that you will be measuring your data with
- A yardstick
- Two pencils (one incase the other one breaks)
- A helper
- A clipboard
- A pair of hip boots
- Make a chart that has inner bend, outer bend and straight away written in columns.
- Go to the location were you are going to measure first bend or straightaway.
- Get your helper to hold the clipboard so that they can write down the data you collect.
- Wearing the hip boots wade into the water.
- Use your yardstick to measure the under cut of the outside bank and if there is one and tell your helper to write it down.
- Then asses the vegetation on the bank and erosion evidence using the scale (get your helper to write that down too)
- Do this on the inner bend as well.
- If you are doing a straightaway do the same on both sides but label the sides, side A and side B.
- Do this every few yards until you have enough data to analyze.
Making the scale
Making the scale was one of the hardest tasks that I had to do with my project. This is how I did it.
- Using a scale just like the one I made as a guide a came up with the main parts of the scale that I needed. They were erosion evidence, vegetation, root exposure and undercut.
- Then I broke each category down into what a though was the worst vegetation, etc. that could possibly be and what was the highest.
- I next filled in the rest of the scale and put it in a chart.
For a copy of the scale, click here.