Big Barren Creek - Watershed Monitoring



The U.S. Forest Service is involved in an experiment, known as the Missouri Pine-Oak Woodland Restoration Project: a landscape-scale restoration project that includes the use of prescribed burning as a tool for vegetation recovery. Due to public concerns that prescribed burning is negatively impacting water quality through increased soil erosion while increasing flood frequency due to the removal of leaf litter and ground vegetation cover, the U.S. Forest Service has partnered with OEWRI/MSU to plan and implement studies which assess soil, sediment, channel, and flooding conditions to better understand the effects of forest management on water quality and flooding. 

The long-term goal is the creation and implementation of a watershed restoration and improvement project which will include upland vegetation treatment sites and stream or bottomland areas. In addition to addressing the concerns of the public, the study will also evaluate soil conditions and stream stability as associated with long-term watershed improvement projects within two priority watersheds: Big Barren Creek and  the headwaters of Big Barren Creek.


  1. Determine soil, water, and sediment impacts of vegetation management practices in comparison to other management practices
  2. Use geomorphic and GIS assessment methods to evaluate downstream changes in channel form, flood capacity, stability, and substrate with the Big Barren Creek watershed related to: (a) historical land disturbance, (b) contemporary land disturbance, (c) infrastructure  such as crossings, channelization, and ad-hoc BMPs, and (d) climate change


U.S. Forest Service
The Nature Conservancy, Missouri Chapter


U.S. Forest Service