Big Barren Creek Watershed Monitoring Study

Project investigators

  • Bob Pavlowky
  • Marc Owen

Project scope

The U.S. Forest Service has been working on a project known as the Missouri Pine Oak Woodland Restoration project. The project is a landscape-scale restoration project that includes the use of prescribed burning as a tool for vegetation recovery. The public has expressed concerns that prescribed fires are degrading water quality due to increased soil erosion and increasing flood frequency in local creeks due to the removal of the leaf litter and ground vegetation. The U.S. Forest Service wants to address the public concern by partnering with MSU to plan and implement a study to assess soil, sediment, channel, and flooding conditions in order to better understand management effects on water quality and flooding. In the long-term the U.S. Forest Service is planning a watershed restoration/improvement project that will include the upland vegetation treatment sites and stream or bottomland areas. In addition to addressing the concerned public, the study will evaluate the soil conditions and stream stability associated with long-term watershed improvement projects within two priority watersheds, Big Barren Creek and Headwaters of Big Barren Creek.


  1. Determine soil, water, and sediment impacts of vegetation management units in comparison to other management units
  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 effects associated with such as crossings, channelization, and ad-hoc BMPs, and, to the extent possible, d) climate change

Project Documents

Historical Rainfall Analysis for the Big Barren Creek Watershed, Southeast Missouri (1955-2015)

Related Masters Theses

  • Geomorphic Effects of Logging Railbeds on an Ozarks Headwater Stream, Mark Twain National Forest, Missouri
    Nickolas S. Bradley, 2017
  • Geomorphic Disturbance and Anthropogenic Modifications in Big Barren Creek, Mark Twain National Forest, Southeast Missouri
    Rachael A. Bradley, 2017
  • Influence of Prescribed Burning on Upland Soil Properties in Mark Twain National Forest, Southeast Missouri Ozarks
    Megan L. Hente, 2017
  • Geomorphic Characteristics and Sediment Transport in Natural and Channelized Reaches of Big Barren Creek, Southeast Missouri
    Matthew S. Thies, 2017

‚ÄčProject partners

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


U.S. Forest Service