Watershed Assessment of River Stability, Sediment Supply Posted On EPA Site

On Sept. 29, EPA announced the availability on its Web site a technical procedure developed for water quality scientists to use in evaluating streams and rivers impaired by excess sediment.

Watershed Assessment of River Stability & Sediment Supply (WARSSS) is a watershed approach to sediment assessment that focuses on:

  • Natural variability in sediment dynamics.
  • Geologic versus anthropogenic sediment sources.
  • Erosional and depositional processes.
  • Prediction of sediment loads.
  • Streamflow changes.
  • Stream channel stability and departure from reference condition.

High erosion and destabilized streambanks commonly release excess sediment, causing turbid water and silt deposits that can harm aquatic life and reduce recreational uses of our waters. Excess sediment impairments are among the most common river and stream water quality problems reported by state monitoring programs. Assessing sedimentation problems is difficult and tools are limited.

WARSSS can be used to analyze known or suspected sediment problems, develop sediment remediation and management components of watershed plans, develop sediment total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) and other uses. This web-based assessment tool was designed for scientists who need to assess sediment-impaired waters in planning for their restoration.

The technical tools Web site can be accessed at http://www.epa.gov/warsss/index.htm.

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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