Abstract

Stream-bank vegetation significantly influences the morphology of streams in the Piedmont region of the United States. We surveyed the morphology of 26 paired stream reaches in southeastern Pennsylvania, northern Maryland, and Delaware. One member of each pair has a forested riparian zone, whereas the other has a riparian zone composed pri marily of grass. The paired reaches are nearly contiguous, so all significant channel-forming variables except riparian vegetation are held constant. The extent of urban development of the watersheds upstream of the paired reaches also varies considerably, allowing us to determine the combined influence of riparian vegetation and urbanization on channel morphology. Statistical analyses indicate that (1) channels with forested riparian zones are wider than channels with nonforested riparian zones, (2) channels in urbanized watersheds are wider than channels in nonurbanized watersheds, and (3) the effect of riparian vegetation is independent of the level of urbanization.

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