The Lasting Impacts of Large-Volume Runoff Events: Evaluating River Discharge and Suspended Sediment Transfer Patterns Following Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, Schoharie Watershed, New York State, USA
Large-volume runoff events have lasting impacts on sediment transfer by providing long-term supplies of transferable sediment. Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee generated extreme runoff throughout the Northeastern United States. This research evaluated multi-year discharge and suspended sediment transfer patterns for Schoharie Creek, New York State, USA to investigate the lasting impacts associated with extreme (>500-year recurrence interval) runoff generated by Irene and Lee. The relationship for river discharge and suspended sediment transfer was evaluated for 69 runoff events in 2013-2015; results indicated that sediment supply depletion did not occur. The multi-decadal suspended sediment flux was estimated during 1973-2012 to investigate long-term sediment transfer processes. The suspended sediment flux was primarily transported during high discharge periods in each water year. Annual runoff and the frequency for large-volume runoff events have increased in the Northeastern United States from the mid-20th century to the present, thus suspended sediment transfer has likely increased.