Anthropocene Streams and Base-Level Controls from Historic Dams in the Unglaciated Mid-Atlantic Region, USA

Anthropocene Streams and Base-Level Controls from Historic Dams in the Unglaciated Mid-Atlantic Region, USA

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Merritts, D., Walter, R., Rahnis, M., Hartranft, J., Cox, S., Gellis, A. 2011. Anthropocene streams and base-level controls from historic dams in the unglaciated mid-Atlantic region, USA: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. Mathematical, Physical & Engineering Sciences. Royal Society Publishing, London, UK. Volume 369, Number 1398. Pages 976-1009
Assessment, sampling, sediment, stream
The paper examines the impact of local drops in base level on incision into historic reservoir sediment as thousands of aging dams breach. Case studies in forested, rural as well as agricultural and urban areas demonstrate that a breached dam can lead to stream incision, bank erosion and increased loads of suspended sediment, even with no change in land use. One implication of this work is that conceptual models linking channel condition and sediment yield exclusively with modern upland land use are incomplete for valleys impacted by milldams.

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