Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Agriculture; Engineering

Department

Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Carmen T. Agouridis

Abstract

Surface mining is a commonly used method for extracting coal in the Appalachian Coalfields of the U.S. This mining practice produces excess spoil or overburden, which is often placed in adjacent valleys resulting in the creation of valley fills. These valley fills bury headwater streams, which in turn can negatively impact downstream ecosystems. In 2008, the University of Kentucky designed and constructed 1,020 m of ephemeral, intermittent and headwater streams on an existing valley fill (Guy Cove) as a proof-of-concept. The goal of the project was to evaluate whether or not a stream recreation could occur on mined lands, particularly a valley fill. The hydrograph characteristics discharge volume, peak discharge, discharge duration, peak time, lag time, and response time were evaluated from three watersheds: (1) unmined, forested watershed (control), (2) partially restored watershed with the intermittent stream (Guy Cove), and (3) a mined watershed with an unrestored stream (valley fill with traditional mined land reclamation practices). Results from four years of monitoring indicate that the created intermittent stream at Guy Cove is hydrologically similar to the control during storm events; however, differences were noted for base flow. A new stream restoration design technique, which combines natural channel design and furrow irrigation design protocols, was investigated.

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