GIS Analysis of Channel Changes Due to a Small Dam on the James River, Sw Missouri

Date of Graduation

Summer 1999


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Robert Pavlowsky


The Ozark Plateaus is a unique ecosystem, however, few studies have focused on the effects of small dams on the morphology and hydrology of Ozark-type streams. Ozark-type streams usually occupy winding steep-sided valleys with high bluffs that have incised meanders with bedrock and gravel beds, chert gravel bars, and silty flood plains. A comparison between upstream and downstream reaches has been used to evaluate the impacts of the dam, constructed in 1957, on the James River in southwest Missouri. Historical and recent aerial photographs and river surveys have been used to compare channel width, bar location and area, and lateral channel migration between reaches. ArcView software has been used to collect and analyze data into a time series of maps showing geomorphic change for the period 1936 through 1996. Channel surveys indicate the two reaches have similar channel geometry and bed and bank material. Since 1953 the amount of erosion and deposition in the downstream reach has decreased while lateral migration has been minor. After closure of Lake Springfield, the number of gravel bars has gone down while the mean bar area has increased in size. The results may be explained by the constraints imposed by the geology, soils, and vegetation in the James River valley. The results of this study will help scientists, land managers, and policy makers better understand the time scale of channel changes due to the influence of small dams on Ozark-type streams.

Subject Categories

Earth Sciences


© Kenneth Joseph Legleiter