Human disturbances and changes of channel form, hydrology and energy in Redhill Creek

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Ferko, Donald Andrew
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University of Guelph

Urbanization of watershed areas is generally recognized as resulting in significant and often detrimental changes to urban stream systems. Changes of channel form that accompany urbanization are also recognized to depend on the energy of the system to erode and transport material. This work explored the relationship between changes of channel form resulting from the urbanization of the basin and measures of channel energy for the Redhill Creek system in Hamilton, Ontario. Channelizations resulting from infrastructure crossings of Redhill Creek reduced the channel length by up to 20%. The largest changes of cross-sectional area occurred at cross-sections located close to these infrastructure crossings. Significant changes in the hydrology of Redhill Creek were not detected over a period of 20 years. A clear distinction was seen between the relationship of channel energy as a function of discharge at pools and riffles; the concept of a dominant discharge appears to be more applicable to pool than riffle sections. Various forms of channel energy were not found to relate to changes in bankful area.

urbanization, watershed, urban stream system, channel form, channel energy, Redhill Creek, Hamilton, Ontario