Author

Sexton

Date of Award

4-2003

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Rolland Fraser

Second Advisor

Dr. Lisa DeChano

Third Advisor

Dr. David Lemberg

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

The Gun River, located in Allegan County, MI, is experiencing profound erosion and sedimentation due to past channel modifications and current land use activity. The Gun River historically has been dredged and straightened to drain water faster and more effectively for agricultural production. Additionally, human land use activities in the watershed influence the current land cover and riparian vegetation. The purpose of this study was to determine if variations in land use (residential, agricultural, and forested) and vegetative cover along the banks of the Gun River influence erosion. Additionally, the study provided a unique opportunity to compare the upper portion of the Gun River, which primarily flows through agricultural land and functions as an inter-county drain, with the lower section of the River that has visible characteristics of a natural river, such as vegetative riparian cover, meanders, and the presence of large woody debris. Using an index based on riparian vegetation and stream bank erosion, as well as channel measurements of the Gun River, data collected from the Gun River and riparian corridor revealed that residential land management results in more bank erosion and sedimentation in the Gun River. Data also revealed that there are differences between the upstream and downstream portions of the Gun River, primarily because most of the residential property along the Gun River is located in the downstream reach.

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Geography Commons

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