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 Smith River Project > Geomorphic Processes

Chapter 4 -- Watershed Processes and Aquatic Ecosystems (continued)

General Geomorphic Processes

The dominant processes in river ecosystems are the delivery, circulation, and routing of water, sediment, and large woody debris in the channel. The abundance of each of these materials is controlled and influenced by many factors. Over centuries, these processes and components of the river channel change due to tectonic movements, climatic changes, and changes in sea level. Types of soil and parent material also are important influences. In shorter time frames, the abundance of water, sediment, and woody debris varies due to rainfall, vegetation cover, and human activities such as road building. The combination of these processes and materials creates the stream channel and provides the foundation for the community of stream organisms. Geomorphic processes in the Smith River watershed are heavily influenced by the resistant geology and rainy climate.

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