Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Paul Bukaveckas


The objective of this study was to characterize water quality and hydrologic properties of urban streams in the Richmond metropolitan area. Water quality data were analyzed for six urban sites and two non-urban sites. Geomorphological surveys and conservative tracer studies were performed at four urban sites and one non-urban site to describe intra- and inter- site variability in transient storage, channel geomorphology, and related hydrologic parameters. Urban sites showed elevated concentrations of nitrogen and more variable TSS concentrations relative to reference sites. Urban channels were deeply incised with unstable banks and low sinuosity. Little Westham Creek exhibited the greatest transient storage. This site was characterized by large, deep pools and therefore it is likely that transient storage was associated with surface water storage. Transient storage was low at all other sites, particularly for the study reach at Reedy Creek, which flowed through a concrete channel. Lowest transient storage was observed at this site in spring, though higher values were measured in summer corresponding to the presence of biofilms, A lower, more naturalized section of the concrete channel was found to have greater transient storage suggesting the possibility of passive restoration of concrete channels in urban environments. This study documents variability in the structure and function of urban streams. Restoration projects should work to improve impairments that are specific to each site at both the reach and watershed scale to maximize the efficacy of restoration.


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