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Channel and woody debris characteristics in adjacent burned and unburned watersheds a decade after wildfire, Park County, Wyoming

Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0169-555x(03)00104-1
  • Channels
  • Stream Sediments
  • Wood
  • Forests
  • Fire
  • Wyoming


Abstract Large variability in responses of stream sediment and large woody debris (LWD) to severe fire has limited the accurate prediction of the magnitude and duration of fire effects on streams. Conditions in one Absaroka Range stream that was severely burned in 1988 were compared to those in an adjacent, undisturbed stream to improve understanding of fire effects on channel and LWD characteristics beyond the first few years. Ten reaches of each stream were sampled during summer 1999. Average bankfull channel width was greater in burned Jones Creek than in unburned Crow Creek. LWD frequency and overall frequency of LWD accumulations were greater in Crow Creek than Jones Creek. Debris-jam frequency was greater in Jones Creek after accounting for differences in the frequency of pieces with length greater than channel width. Larger piece size and better anchoring contributed to more frequent, small accumulations of LWD in Crow Creek. Differences between streams in LWD frequency are consistent with greater mobility of debris in burned Jones Creek. LWD-associated fine-sediment deposits were thicker but less frequent along Jones Creek than Crow Creek.

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