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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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Salt Creek Watershed Project

Background Information

Channelization

This study will look into the pre- and post-channelization effects of the Salt Creek that is located in and around Lincoln, Nebraska, but the research on the effect of channelization of streams and rivers can be documented and used anywhere. When you take a meandering stream or river and straighten it out, dramatic changes will occur to the make-up of that system. When you channelize a stream or river the water's velocity will increase making it harder for fish to find an area to live. Meandering streams or rivers make ox-bows and many deep and slow moving current areas. It is these areas that fish and wildlife thrive. The stream's biodiversity of animals, plants, and fish will decrease because of the loss of habitat that is found along meandering streams and rivers. Another effect of channelized water is it becomes more turbid as there is not a filtering mechanism such as the change of the flow of water to allow the sediments to fall to the bottom of the river, thus making the water dirty looking. Channelizaition is a practice used on rivers or streams for flood control. What we are discovering is how it dramatically changes the biodiversity and water quality of a watershed.

FROM RIVER TO CANAL AND BACK AGAIN