Category: Student Competition
Human alterations to the environment, such as land use changes associated with urbanization and development, have resulted in degradation of riparian and in-stream habitats. The erosional processes that occur during degradation, primarily streambank erosion and failure, have resulted in poor ecological function and biodiversity due to an excess sediment load to downstream reaches. These factors have motivated the implementation of many stream restoration projects to date. The objective of this research is to test and adopt a process-based framework for modeling bank erosion and failure associated with stream restoration practices. Current restoration techniques follow a qualitative approach that neglects the data required to perform analyses of channel response and behavior to different hydrologic conditions. In contrast, a process-based approach is expected to render a more-in-depth characterization of the forces that govern bank erosion and failure in streams and rivers. The approach consists of the application of the Jet Erosion Test (JET) to measure in-situ bank erodibility parameters, coupled with the Bank Stability and Toe Erosion Model (BSTEM) to numerically quantify the contribution of the mechanisms that drive bank erosion and failure under different hydrologic conditions. The process-based framework will be applied to several sites throughout the North Carolina Piedmont Region because many stream restoration projects have been implemented therein for mitigation purposes, in addition to being one of the most challenging physiographic regions within the State of North Carolina. The expected outcomes of this research are a developed relationship between soil properties and streambank erodibility parameters, as well as a process based-framework for enhancing the understanding of existing conditions in degraded streams, improving the design of restoration practices across study area. Additionally, results will contribute in guiding the implementation of stream restoration practices in sites with limited information, and in defining more realistic expectations to accurately formulate performance criteria.
Kayla Kassa– Graduate Student Researcher, North Carolina State University, Raleigh
Graduate Student Researcher
North Carolina State University
My name is Kayla Kassa. I am a graduate student in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department at North Carolina State University. I am working with Dr. Celso Castro-Bolinaga on developing a process-based model to account for sediment transport and bank erosion in stream restoration processes in the North Carolina Piedmont Region. Prior to attending North Carolina State University, I recieved my B.S. in Civil Engineering with a focus in Water Resources at Gonzaga University.