Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (MSBiosyAgE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture; Engineering


Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Carmen T. Agouridis


Human activity such as surface mining can have substantial impacts on the natural environment. Performing a Cumulative Hydrologic Impact Assessment (CHIA) of such impacts on surface water systems requires knowing the location and extent of these impacted streams. The Jurisdictional Determination (JD) of a stream’s protected status under the Clean Water Act (CWA) involves locating and classifying streams according to their flow regime: ephemeral, intermittent, or perennial. Due to their often remote locations and small size, taking a field inventory of headwater streams for surface mining permit applications or permit reviews is challenging. A means of estimating headwater stream location and extent, according to flow regime using publicly available spatial data, would assist in performing CHIAs and JDs. Using headwater point-of-origin data collected from Robinson Forest in eastern Kentucky along with data from three JDs obtained via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), headwater streams in the Appalachian Coal Belt were characterized according to a set of spatial parameters. These characteristics were extrapolated using GIS to delineate headwater streams over a larger area, and the results were compared to the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD).