Date of Graduation

Summer 2017


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Robert Pavlowsky


This study investigates the influence of human disturbance on channel conditions in Big Barren Creek. The Big Barren watershed drains 191 km2 of the Ozark Highlands in southeast Missouri. Several segments of the creek have been channelized by levee construction and gravel mining. Approximately 27.2 km of the main stem of Barren Creek were assessed for 13 photo-years ranging from 1939 to 2014. Geomorphic classifications using channel conditions in aerial photographs and field observations were used to evaluate patterns of disturbance. While 52% of the creek is managed by private landowners, 81% of disturbed length occurs on private lands. Further, 43% of disturbed channel length on public land is associated with channelization along private segments where channel incision and head-cuts migrate upstream and excess sediment loads are released downstream. While channelization started before 1939 in the upper segments, first time channelization occurred as late as 2007 in downstream segments. Channelization by private land managers is the main cause of channel instability in Big Barren Creek, however road crossings may also create unstable conditions in some reaches.


Ozarks, disturbance, aerial photograph, channelization, land management

Subject Categories



© Rachael A. Bradley

Open Access

Included in

Geomorphology Commons