Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2018NC219B

Hidden sediment sources: Locating and studying road-draining gullies using a geospatial model and field measurements

Institute: North Carolina
Year Established: 2018 Start Date: 2018-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $15,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $41,870

Principal Investigators: John Gannon, Diane Styers, David Kinner, Mark Lord

Abstract: Sedimentation is a major pollution problem in North Carolina according to the North Carolina Sediment Pollution Control Act. Gullies formed by road drainage are a potentially large source of sediment, especially in the mountainous western portion of the state. However, due to steep topography and dense vegetation, these features are difficult to locate. This study aims to leverage forthcoming high resolution LiDAR-derived digital elevation models (0.3 m) from the state of North Carolina to locate road-draining gullies remotely using a geospatial model. Once located remotely, these features will be field-verified and characterized. These data will then be explored to identify common site characteristics leading to the formation of road-draining gullies. Furthermore, we will use these data to determine how features like these expand the active channel network during precipitation events. Our findings will be disseminated via both scientific publications and a website offering maps of gully locations, geospatial products, and documents describing our methods and findings. We hope the results of this study will enhance our understanding of human-influence over drainage networks and erosion/sedimentation, and be useful to local governments and water quality advocacy organizations.