STREAMS: Spatial and Temporal River Evolution And Modeling Study

Understanding Indiana's rivers

The White River. Image from Wikimedia Commons

STREAMS seeks to understand how Indiana’s rivers have adapted to land use and climatic change over the past 20,000 years and how they will adapt to future change. Focusing on Indiana’s White River basin, IU Associate Professor Douglas Edmonds’ team will analyze floodplain deposits to reconstruct the history of the White River since deglaciation. This study will offer clues as to how the White River has responded to previous climatic changes and provide a long-term context for river sensitivity and resilience to change.

At smaller scales, Edmonds’ team will examine how river channels of the White River migrate across the floodplain, information that can be used to predict bank erosion under different climate and land-use scenarios. Finally, the team will measure and model how land use and climate influence channel head formation in upland valleys. Predicting channel head formation, or gullying, is important because these channels supply sediment to the river system and are responsible for soil erosion. Together these efforts will provide a range of predictions for how rivers may change in the future that Hoosiers can use to support decision making and policy.