Comparison of Hydrologic and Hydraulic Characteristics of the Anacostia River to Non-Urban Coastal Streams

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Streams in urban areas often utilize channelization and other bank erosion control measures to improve flood conveyance, reduce channel migration, and overbank flooding. This leads to reductions in evapotranspiration and sediment storage on floodplains. The purpose of this study is to quantify the evapotranspiration and sediment transport capacity in the Anacostia Watershed, a large Coastal Plain urban watershed, and to compare these processes to a similar sized non-urban watershed. Times series data of hydrologic and hydraulic changes in the Anacostia, as urbanization progressed between 1939-2014, were also analyzed. The data indicates lower values of warm season runoff in the non-urban stream, suggesting a shift from evapotranspiration to runoff in urban streams. Channelization in the Anacostia also increased flow velocities and decreased high flow width. The high velocities associated with channelization and the removal of floodplain storage sites allows for the continued downstream transport of sediment despite stream bank stabilization.