Kyle Kosovich

Date of Graduation

Fall 2013


Master of Natural and Applied Science in Geography, Geology, and Planning


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Robert Pavlowsky


spatial analysis, Ozarks, gravel sediment, aerial photography, Bull Creek

Subject Categories

Hydrology | Sedimentology | Spatial Science


Public perception in the Ozarks is that gravel bar activity and related bank erosion problems have increased in Ozark streams during the past two decades. This thesis aims to investigate the historical trends in gravel bar deposition and remobilization in Bull Creek by: (1) Determining the spatial distribution and timing of gravel bars and channel disturbance zones; (2) Assessing spatial distribution and reach-scale dynamics of disturbance zones in the upper Bull Creek watershed; and (3) Evaluating the influence of past and present day sources of gravel supply including upland tributary inputs and the Chadwick Off-road Vehicle (ORV) area within Mark Twain National Forest. Historical aerial photographs in ArcGIS were analyzed to quantify bar area, channel planform, and gravel-filled tributary change over time. Key findings include: (1) Gravel bar activity is spatially persistent within disturbance reaches located at valley constrictions and valley bends along bedrock bluffs since 1941; (2) Active gravel bar area has decreased by almost half since 1979; (3) No relationship was found between ORV use and gravel bar activity in Bull Creek; (4) Present-day tributaries contain gravel bar areas that are similar to the 1940's and thus tributaries are probably supplying gravel to Bull Creek at relatively high rates in recent time; and (5) Gravel remobilization and transport rates may have increased recently due to the effect of increased flood magnitude and frequency during the past two decades as indicated by discharge gage records for the region. Complete recovery of disturbance zones in Ozark rivers is unlikely. However, knowing where disturbance reaches tend to form in Ozark rivers can help inform future management decisions.


© Kyle Kosovich

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