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Case Studies

The WARSSS framework was developed from a wide body of new and existing river and stream professional practice, research, published and unpublished studies, and field experience. The field research and study of Wolf Creek, Colorado played a special role in verification of WARSSS process concepts and demonstration of the WARSSS procedural methods. Other case studies are now taking place in West Virginia, on Horseshoe Run and on Sand Fork Run.

Over time, we expect more case studies in varied regions of the country to take place and invite assessors to share their experiences and results with others via this case studies page. For more information, contact EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds.

Wolf Creek Case Study

The Wolf Creek study area is located in southwestern Colorado in the San Juan mountains. Its watershed is steeply mountainous and forested in the northern half and parts of the southern half. Some historical and recent logging in the southern subwatersheds represented potential impacts, but the more prominent sediment sources were associated with a highway corridor and landslides along the main stem.WARSSS RLA and RRISSC phases narrowed the focus of the assessment on the major contributing areas, and the PLA phase exercises predicted the sediment load's departure from reference and identified key source areas for targeted remediation. The Wolf Creek fieldwork was performed over the WARSSS developmental period from 1998 through 2000. Contact: Dr. David L. Rosgen Exit EPA Disclaimer

Horseshoe Run Case Study

The Horseshoe Run study area is located near the Canaan Valley area of West Virginia. It occupies a mixed land use watershed of nearly 60 square miles, with a lengthy history of valley bottom farming, grazing and some isolated clear cutting. Horseshoe Run is a moderately large stream with mixed coldwater/warmwater fish populations that are vulnerable to channel destabilization and excess sediment, which has caused some pool loss, channel enlargement, increased width/depth ratio, and subsequently higher water temperature regimes at times. These marginal conditions caused by excess sediment and instability may threaten the fishery, especially the coldwater species, if allowed to get worse. An actively engaged local watershed has teamed up many landowners with The Canaan Valley Institute in a channel restoration and stabilization effort that is using WARSSS to provide the quantitative assessment upon which site-specific channel restoration activities will be carried out in 2006. Contact: Canaan Valley Institute Exit EPA Disclaimer

Sand Fork Run Case Study

The Sand Fork Run is a middle-sized stream in Gilmer County, West Virginia, and is a tributary in the Little Kanawha River system. It is 303d-listed as an impaired water and has a TMDL. In ongoing studies on Sand Fork Run, the Canaan Valley Institute in cooperation with the WV Department of Environmental Protection's Nonpoint Source Program and the US Army Corps of Engineers plans to utilize WARSSS methods to assess the loads responsible for impairment and identify key areas for restoration. Contact: Canaan Valley Institute Exit EPA Disclaimer

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