Presentation Title

Exploring the role of geomorphic variability on the function of Vermont’s floodplains: an analysis of sedimentation

Presenter's Name(s)

Shayla P. TriantafillouFollow

Abstract

Excess sediment and associated phosphorus contribute to poor water quality and induce harmful algal blooms in freshwater lakes, including Lake Champlain. Floodplains alter nutrient transport by slowing flood waters and creating a depositional environment for sediment and nutrients. The capacity of floodplains to capture sediment and nutrients is poorly understood in the Lake Champlain Basin (LCB), limiting the efficacy of remediation work to reduce phosphorus loads. This project evaluated the controls on measured variability in sediment deposition on selected flood events in 2019 using a classification of floodplain surfaces. Samples from 20 sites across Vermont were analyzed for mass, total phosphorus, and particle size. Floodplain sites were classified by specific stream power and plots within each site were classified by local geomorphic features. These analyses were used to describe how the depositional setting relates to sediment, phosphorus, and particle size measured at the study sites. Results of this work will contribute to an improved understanding of how floodplains interact with sediment and associated nutrients during floods.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Beverley Wemple

Secondary Mentor NetID

rdiehl

Secondary Mentor Name

Rebecca Diehl

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Geography

Primary Research Category

Food & Environment Studies

Second College (optional)

College of Arts and Sciences

Second Program/Major

Environmental Sciences

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Exploring the role of geomorphic variability on the function of Vermont’s floodplains: an analysis of sedimentation

Excess sediment and associated phosphorus contribute to poor water quality and induce harmful algal blooms in freshwater lakes, including Lake Champlain. Floodplains alter nutrient transport by slowing flood waters and creating a depositional environment for sediment and nutrients. The capacity of floodplains to capture sediment and nutrients is poorly understood in the Lake Champlain Basin (LCB), limiting the efficacy of remediation work to reduce phosphorus loads. This project evaluated the controls on measured variability in sediment deposition on selected flood events in 2019 using a classification of floodplain surfaces. Samples from 20 sites across Vermont were analyzed for mass, total phosphorus, and particle size. Floodplain sites were classified by specific stream power and plots within each site were classified by local geomorphic features. These analyses were used to describe how the depositional setting relates to sediment, phosphorus, and particle size measured at the study sites. Results of this work will contribute to an improved understanding of how floodplains interact with sediment and associated nutrients during floods.