Channel change, sediment transport, and fish habitat in a coastal stream: Effects of an extreme event

Robert Coats, Laurel Collins, Joan Florsheim, Darrell Kaufman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


A study on sediment transport and channel change was conducted on Zayante Creek and the lower San Lorenzo River in Santa Cruz County, California. A rainstorm with a recurrence interval locally in excess of 150 years occurred during the study year, 1982 WY. Stream surveys indicated that significant aggradation occurred during and after the peak flood. Upper study reaches were substantially recovered after high flows of early April, but the lower study reaches still had significant filling of pools and burial of riffles by sand. Increases in width-depth ratio were minor and localized in upper reaches, but were significant in lower reaches. Large inputs of sand, primarily from landsliding, altered the sediment transport regime. A higher proportion of the bedload is now transported by lower flows than before the January event. Roads and sand quarries contributed significantly to sediment input to the stream. A proposed dam may alter the sediment transport regime of Zayante Creek. Mitigating the effects of this dam on downstream fish habitat may require occasional bankfull discharges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-48
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1985


  • Channel change
  • Fish habitat
  • Flood effects
  • Geomorphic effectiveness
  • Sediment transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution


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