Presentation Title

Quantifying and Predicting Gully Erosion and its Contribution to Nutrient Pollution from Vermont's Roads

Presenter's Name(s)

Frank Carl PiaseckiFollow

Abstract

Fresh water is a precious resource for human life and environmental health. Human activity contributes a wide variety of contaminants to freshwater systems. Road networks interrupt these freshwater systems causing serious local erosion. Soil eroded off roads can add nutrients to the water, and contribute to declining water quality downstream. This project investigates the magnitude of the issue of gully erosion on Vermont's roads. High-resolution 3D scans of selected gullies are compared with municipal gully inventories and aerial Digital Elevation Models to find the general accuracy of statewide datasets. These data are synthesized to predict the total magnitude of gully erosion on the watershed level, and estimate the percentage of Phosphorus runoff that comes from this form of erosion. This research will inform further investigation of the Phosphorus runoff reduction potential of repairs made to road gullies.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Beverley Wemple

Secondary Mentor Name

Donald Ross

Faculty/Staff Collaborators

Dr. Beverley Wemple (Thesis Advisor), Emma Estabrook (Graduate Student Mentor)

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

Honors College

Second Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Environmental Sciences

Primary Research Category

Engineering & Physical Sciences

Secondary Research Category

Food & Environment Studies

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Quantifying and Predicting Gully Erosion and its Contribution to Nutrient Pollution from Vermont's Roads

Fresh water is a precious resource for human life and environmental health. Human activity contributes a wide variety of contaminants to freshwater systems. Road networks interrupt these freshwater systems causing serious local erosion. Soil eroded off roads can add nutrients to the water, and contribute to declining water quality downstream. This project investigates the magnitude of the issue of gully erosion on Vermont's roads. High-resolution 3D scans of selected gullies are compared with municipal gully inventories and aerial Digital Elevation Models to find the general accuracy of statewide datasets. These data are synthesized to predict the total magnitude of gully erosion on the watershed level, and estimate the percentage of Phosphorus runoff that comes from this form of erosion. This research will inform further investigation of the Phosphorus runoff reduction potential of repairs made to road gullies.