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Chapter 4 -- Watershed Processes and Aquatic Ecosystems

Understanding stream ecosystems requires understanding the processes that form them. Stream habitats are created by the delivery, circulation, and routing of water, sediment, and large woody debris in the channel. Many factors influence the abundance of these materials and therefore stream habitats. Fundamental influences on the creation and destruction of stream habitats are geomorphic processes including landslides, erosion, and the movement of sediment by stream flow. The power of the stream to move sediment and modify its channel varies with precipitation and vertical relief. Geological history and characteristics determine the amount of vertical relief in the watershed and also influence the size of sediment particles in the stream.


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