Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Watershed Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Patrick Belmont


Patrick Belmont


Joseph M. Wheaton


Tammy Rittenour


Currently, our ability to predict the flux of fine sediment at the watershed scale is limited by the precision of erosion rate estimates for the many potential sources distributed throughout a landscape as well as our understanding of the connectivity of sediment pathways during transport. In absence of a robust predictive model which can be validated by measurements of sediment fluxes and use of geochemical tracers. Predicting fine sediment yield at the watershed scale requires multiple redundant lines of information. This thesis outlines the methods used, and the data sets collected in the Root River watershed in Southeastern Minnesota, all of which are multiple lines of evidence to the sediment dynamics in the Root River. The research indicates that the Root River is a very dynamic watershed. The hydrologic regime of the watershed has shifted over the last half century. Due to this shift sediment fluxes are very dependent of the magnitude and sequence of events. Geomorphic analysis of the landforms and the use of a developed tool, TerEx, indicate that many reaches of the river have easily accessible near-channel sources of sediment. Sediment fingerprinting results illustrate that source tracer concentrations are variable across the landscape, that as a whole, upland sources are still a major contributor to the suspended sediment load, and that in some sub-watersheds near-channel sources are dominate in the suspended load. Over all the channel-floodplain exchange exerts strong control on the flux of sediment through this river system.




This work made publicly available electronically on July 29, 2012.